Project Connect, an industry-backed scheme for getting schools online, has abandoned the idea of connecting schools to the Internet through the Janet higher education network. It is wooing cable television companies instead.
Schools are not allowed to connect directly to Janet and must find a university as sponsor. The project's chief executive Paul Martin complained that universities wanted too much money.
"Some of the universities wanted to charge the schools for connections and some of the fees quoted were outrageous to say the least," he said. "It is not likely to happen, because cable companies are providing the connection free of charge if they go past the schools."
Mr Martin also complained that Janet is too slow. But according to David Hartley, chief executive of Ukerna, which operates Janet, "by and large the performance problem is with international connectivity, not with national connectivity".
After a pilot project in seven schools, Project Connect now hopes to get 300 schools online by the end of this academic year and 1,500 by the end of the next. The project hopes local businesses will contribute to the Pounds 40,000 cost of getting a typical school online.