February 3, 2009
Internet Money in Fiscal Plan: Wise or Waste?
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
WASHINGTON — At first glance, perhaps no line item in the nearly $900 billion stimulus program under consideration on Capitol Hill would seem to offer a more perfect way to jump-start the economy than the billions pegged to expand broadband Internet service to rural and underserved areas.
Proponents say it will create jobs, build crucial infrastructure and begin to fulfill one of President Obama’s major campaign promises: to expand the information superhighway to every corner of the land, giving local businesses an electronic edge and offering residents a dazzling array of services like online health care and virtual college courses.
But experts warn that the rural broadband effort could just as easily become a $9 billion cyberbridge to nowhere, representing the worst kind of mistakes that lawmakers could make in rushing to approve one of the largest spending bills in history without considering unintended results...[more here, from the NYT]
January 30, 2009
India Announces Prototype of $10 Laptop for Education
India’s ministry in charge of higher education says it will make low-power laptops available, at a cost of just $10 apiece, to the Indian market within six months — as part of a major initiative to increase the number of students going to college, The Indian Express reports.
R. P. Agrawal, India’s secretary of higher education, told the newspaper that online courses are the only way to bring quality education to remote areas of the country. He added that the ministry is working out ways to beam lectures from the Indian Institute of Technology across the country. “We will be providing free e-content to students,” Mr. Agrawal said. [More here, from the CHE]