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COMPUTING

Remote school gets high-speed Net access to bridge divide

May 21, 1999
Web posted at: 9:59 a.m. EDT (1359 GMT)

by Meg Misenti

From...
Civic.com

(IDG) -- An Internet service provider and a San Diego, Calif., technology outreach program Tuesday announced a partnership to provide broadband Internet access and an Internet-enhanced curriculum to a disadvantaged minority school district in a remote rural area in southeast California.

As part of the project, high school students will take classes via the World Wide Web to determine the impact of computers and Internet communications on reading and math skills.

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The project is a joint venture between the San Diego Supercomputer Center's (SDSC) Science & Technology Outreach program, funded by the National Science Foundation, and San Diego-based World Wide Wireless Web Corporation. W4 will provide Internet connectivity, computers and other hardware, including a satellite dish for the school.

The demonstration project will take place at the Mountain Empire Unified School District, more than an hour-and-a-half from San Diego. The school will develop the curriculum for Internet-based education and a portion of high school students will attend Internet classes while the others will continue to be taught in the traditional classroom setting. "The goal is to see the viability of this, then go ahead and propose it for every rural district in California," said Steve Napear, associate director of SDSC's Science & Technology Outreach program.

Napear predicts that the project will demonstrate the relative low cost of satellite technology to provide high-speed Internet connectivity -- about $10,000 per site. The project will use a large satellite dish on the roof the SDSC and W4's Internet Satellite Access Program to test and enhance services to the school, which will have a much smaller satellite dish and server linked to its computers. W4 will pick up the costs of the project, which will take place during the next school year.


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