Select Committee on European Union Written Evidence


eEurope section 1—European Youth into the Digital Age

LEARNING SOCIETY ACCESS ISSUES

  28.  OFTEL and the telecommunications industry have worked together over a number of years to facilitate increased access to the Internet. In 1997, the industry agreed to offer schools Internet access at a flat, low-rate charge. In the autumn of 1999, the industry introduced a further cheaper option for primary schools. This service provides 15 hours Internet access per school week for a set low fee.

  29.  The success of schools initiative led the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to ask the Director General to have further discussions with the major operators about securing special tariffs for public libraries, FE colleges and citizens advice bureaux.

  30.  In March of this year, OFTEL published its Statement on BT's Public Institutions Internet Caller, a service for the eligible defined public institutions. This service is based upon the Schools Internet Caller service and offers either ordinary dial-up Internet access or access via an ISDN line.

  31.  The service, which became available at the beginning of April, provides a flat rate service for eligible institutions allowing them to connect to any participating Internet Service Provider for 10 hours per weekday (Monday to Friday) between 8am to 6pm. In addition, for a small additional amount, the eligible institution (and schools) can purchase an evening and weekend service.

  32.  BT has also now put forward a proposal for a 2 Mbit/s leased line service for schools and the eligible institutions.

  33.  In addition schools and any other institution can benefit from the general reduction in the cost of accessing the Internet in the UK, as described in Annex A.


 
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