Monday, June 06, 2011

MEC seeking options for connecting rural schools with wireless broadband

Later this year, all 62,000 schools in the public schools of Brazil located in urban areas have broadband. The information is the technology advisor to the board of the National Education Development (ENDF), Wellington Mozarth Moura, who says the next challenge of the organ, attached to the Ministry of Education (MEC) is to connect those establishments which are in remote regions .
The delivery of broadband in schools is part of the universalization targets negotiated between the federal government and telecom operators. Moura said that in three years about 56 000 public schools have received the service, leaving approximately 6000 to telcos meet a quota of 62 000 establishments required.
The next step now is to meet the schools are in rural areas, which are more than 100 000. Of this total, only 7,000 have been granted access. Although the number is higher than the urban areas, the coach says they focus less students.
"Approximately 85% of students in public schools are in urban schools and only 15% study in rural schools," Moura explained. He explains that the challenge of connecting rural schools is higher because of the lack of network infrastructure.
According to the aide of ENDF, MEC is trying to give internet access to rural schools through the digital inclusion program in E-Government Citizen Service Center (GESAC), who will bid around 17 000 points by satellite.
But he said that Brazil does not have satellite capacity to meet all this demand. The government hopes to resolve this problem with the sale of the 450 MHz, which delivers broadband through 3G networks.
As the telcos did not show interest for this band and Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo, hinted during the panel Telebrasil, held this week, assessing ways to compel operators to meet rural regions.
Other challenges: In addition to delivering access to rural schools, the Education Ministry wants to increase the speed of access. According to Moura, only 30% of the approximately 56 000 schools have already connected up to 2 Mbps connection. The remaining 70% surf the net with 1 Mbps. "We have to have a plan to manage access and use the internet wisely," says Moura.
Another homework FNDE is to deliver content and computers both for teachers and for students. The agency created the portal of the professor and the government is trying to implement the program of educational laptop, which entered the second phase, encouraging states and municipalities to buy laptops with funding from the Banco National Desenvolvimento (BNDES)


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