One of my readers has queried the accuracy of my comments on allegations that the cost of connecting schools to broadband is increased by CESG requirements. I did not know – hence the wording. My attempt to check the accuracy raised, however, an even more interesting question. At issue appear to be interpretations of the Code of Connection Level 3. This covers on-line access to databases where data leakage could cause substantial individual harm: such as those of HMRC and DWP for taxes and benefits. But would such a leak do more harm than one from your bank? If not, why should they need to use separate networks?
Are your children are most risk from their on-line activities under the sheets over their mobiles and laptops after you thought they had gone to bed than from a leak over the school network? If not, why should not be able to tap into the schools network and do their homework at the same time.
This will be an interesting topic for debate among the Class of 2010: those succesful in an election campaign that will be noteworthy for on-line dirty tricks and political cyberwarfare.
I have also been asked to make a point of clarification:
Schools do not themselves pay the installation costs. These are funded through the harnessing technology (capital) grant. More-over schools use of broadband is not unidirectional it is bi directional with central hosting for a long list of beneficial vfm and green issues as well as two way communication for school management, buildings management and surveillance and voice communications as well as the obvious support for teaching and learning. The issue that exists is about LAs being able to afford getting broadband (not ADSL) in to remote schools. Any school without this level of connectivity is increasingly disadvantaged.