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Education of the Internet


Around the world, universities have complained that online congestion created by the Internet revolution has cost them vital research time. The issue has ignited a debate about the Net's role in higher education--and whether the universities should have an exclusive domain in cyberspace funded by taxpayers. In this multimedia report, NEWS.COM takes an in-depth look at the people, institutions, and technology touched by the issue.

Universities face challenge
Scientists, researchers, and professors say the very future of cyberspace may depend on their ability to work freely online, allowing them to find solutions to the problems that now beset the Internet. But technology experts are beginning to question whether it is worth spending hundreds of millions of dollars on an entirely separate network for universities, arguing that new technology can be developed by private companies in less time, for less money.

Students get hard lesson
To keep up with the rising costs and competition for online usage, some unversities have begun to charge students for Internet access. While many students are outraged at the prospect of having to pay for something they believe is a natural part of their college experience, universities aren't sure they can continue to pay for students who use the Net as much for recreation as education.

A case study: UC Berkeley
Like many other schools, the University of California at Berkeley has the twin burdens of shrinking budgets and growing demands for Internet access. As a result, it recently became one of the first campuses to cut a deal with a commercial Internet service provider so that staff and students alike could have an alternative route online. A look at how one campus is dealing with the issue.