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Why do we need broadband? – opinion


Professor Steve Molyneux, Director of LearningLab and member of the Post-16 e-Learning Strategy Taskforce, makes the learning case for the necessity for advancing broadband coverage.

Evidence to date convincingly demonstrates that, when used appropriately, electronically delivered education and training - "e-learning" - can improve how students learn, can improve what students learn, and can deliver high-quality learning opportunities to all.

The provision of Broadband is the key to assuring equity in the digital age. The need for every student to have access to the equipment, software, fast Internet connections and other resources is necessary if we are to take full advantage of e-learning opportunities, specifically fast, reliable, ubiquitous broadband connections that can support interactive communications and rich multi-media content.

Why is broadband so important? What opportunities does it provide? One thing it provides is speed and another is that large amounts of data can be transmitted, which makes the online experience vastly richer.

Furthermore, it is more reliable than dial-up service and eliminates time and distance as considerations. Broadband access today is 50 to several hundred times more powerful than narrowband and the Internet 2 promises to boggle the mind by comparison when it emerges over the next 5 years.

Broadband within companies is far more than just computers connected to provide training. The innovative aggregation of broadband usage throughout the company can lead to cost savings in other areas: telephony and video-conferencing to name but two. Linked to internal wireless networks, broadband offers companies the possibility of rethinking their complete business processes and using Information Technology to innovate rather than automate, making their organisation a slicker, meaner machine fit to do business in the 21st Century.


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