In 1999, the U.S. cable television industry more than doubled the number of schools nationwide that are receiving free access to the internet through high-speed cable links, said NCTA president and CEO Robert Sachs. More than 5,700 schools and public libraries across America now benefit from the industry’s commitment to education, he told attendees of the 2000 State Educational Technology Leadership Conference in mid-January.

In July 1996, before the federal government established the Universal Service Fund, or eRate, that is now helping to wire all schools to the internet, the cable television industry introduced Cable’s High-Speed Education Connection, a nationwide commitment by cable companies to provide free high-speed cable modem service to elementary and secondary schools as cable companies upgrade their facilities and roll out advanced data services. In Oct. 1998, cable expanded the initiative to include public libraries.

Wiring is accompanied by a training program, webTeacher, introduced in 1997. This online tutorial designed especially for teachers can be used either individually or as part of a group training session. The webTeacher web site (http://www. webteacher.org) receives 70,000 page views every day and became available in Spanish in Jan. 2000, Sachs said.