Remember what Airtel had said earlier about not wanting its broadband ops to be just a dumb pipe? They’ve now launched Broadband Value Added Services: Interactive CBSE coaching content from LearnNext available to Airtel Broadband users, priced at Rs. 99 per month, or Rs. 199 per quarter for maths and science for a particular class (Class VI to Class X). Users will have animations and audio-visual content for the entire course, examples and experiments, solved NCERT exercises, and over 250 lessons explained with audio-visual content, offering an alternative to private tuitions. The application has a Performance Evaluator and a study planning module to track progress. Apart from this, there’s a community feature which allows those who are a part of the LearnNext Community, to interact.

A couple of things to note: at Rs. 99 per month (and Rs. 199 per quarter), the cost of the courses appears to have been subsidized. The annual package listed on LearnNext’s website is priced at Rs. 2399, which works out to Rs. 199 per month (and Rs. 2299 works out to Rs. 191 per month).

Secondly, it’s interesting to see Airtel embrace e-learning. At times, parents keep students away from the computer, so that they can study, and this serves as a barrier to adoption. I remember HCL had pitched its Beanstalk computer in the late 1990’sas primarily a learning device, and the attitude towards computers has changed since then.

One thing to be careful about, though: this is an auto-renewal based service, according to Airtel, “to avoid user discomfort”. Yeah, right.