All aboard for the Internet?
Trade and Industry Minister Tim Eggar is understood to be behind the scheme, thought to have been costed at about Pounds 7.5 million.
A spokesperson for the DTI confirmed that a major scheme was being planned, but said that it would be premature to release details. An announcement is likely to be made by April.
A pilot project with about 60 schools will be established by June as a forerunner for the national scheme which may be funded by both Government and industry.
The move ties in with the Department for Education's consultation with schools, colleges and industry on what they require from an "education superhighway" - a national fibre-optic "broadband" network . This superhighway, with its moving video and multimedia is on the way, while the slower, less high-tech Internet is here and now.