At a recent eRate seminar in Colorado, Pat Sullivan fell to comparing her district's internet-access speed with a contingent of colleagues from Silicon Valley. Sullivan, executive technology director from El Paso, Texas, let it slip that her schools have cable access to the internet.

"They were salivating at the mouth," laughed Sullivan.

She has a right to be gleeful. The scorching speeds her school district achieves on those cable lines clock in at somewhere between 4 and 10 megs per second. That's about 100 times faster than a residential telephone...

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