January 19, 2010

The new internet block in education: Financial Filtering


Oxford University has banned Spotify, the legal music-sharing service currently available across Europe. The reason? It uses up too much bandwidth. I've been in a few clients' establishments where this is also true, whether the bandwidth-hungry service be well-known and seen as 'legitimate' (e.g. BBC iPlayer) or little known and misunderstood (e.g. Spotify).

When we're building national internet infrastructures, as we have done in the UK and which are emerging at great speed in New Zealand, India and China, we can underestimate by some distance what is going to be required by generations not too much in the future. In 2005, 100mbps for a 1000-student secondary school seemed lightning fast, given that we had been struggling on 10mbps until then. However, in an age where most new content is available, first and foremost, in high quality HD, this "high" speed feels like a snail's pace, especially when any more than 20 of those 1000 students is using such a service.

What's the answer? Invest more than we can afford now on the understanding that it will pay off by the time it's installed? See internet infrastructure as a genuine investment, like motorways and skyscrapers, rather than just a spend that has to be made?


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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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