The Bandwidth Divide: How Slow Bandwidth Handicaps Students

1025355_79990052Think the digital divide is behind us now that personal computers are ubiquitous? Consider the recent failure of an e-textbook effort in a wealthy school district outside of Washington, D.C.

The e-textbooks used in the project, run by the Fairfax County Public Schools, worked only when students were online—and some features required fast connections. But it turns out that even in such a well-heeled region, many students did not have broadband access at home and were unable to do their homework, sparking complaints from parents that led the school system to approve the purchase of $2-million in printed textbooks for those who preferred a hard copy.

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