Cheap Internet for students

Students can start applying for low-cost broadband Internet connections on March 27, the government said yesterday. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said the first contracts with Internet service providers (ISPs) for the government-subsidized «Diodos» program will be signed shortly and they will post their offers on the program site. After choosing their ISP, students will have to register and then visit its offices in person with a certificate from their school, identity card and a telephone bill showing their address. Initially the government had announced that students would be given ADSL connections at 384 Kbps for 17 euros a month. However, rates have fallen rapidly in the last few months and the government now expects much lower offers from ISPs. Officials take the view that the market will ultimately determine prices. The National Research and Technology Network, which is managing the program, is currently preparing the draft contracts with ISPs and it is considered certain that the biggest of them will participate. According to a statement issued by the Development and Education ministries yesterday, the program will be implemented gradually, depending on the progress of registrations and the response of OTE telecom and the other ISPs.