The University of Otago is part way through a $19 million
plan to upgrade its internet network - which includes the
rollout of free wireless for students and staff within the
boundaries of its campuses.
The two-pronged upgrade, which was approved at the Otago
University council last month, involves spending $12 million
increasing the speed of the university network from 100
megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second - and $7 million
to provide free wireless to students and staff within campus
University director of information technology services
Mike Harte said work on the two projects was about to begin
and the "vast majority" of both was expected to be completed
by 2014 - with some extra work in 2015.
A separate $1.4 million plan to provide free wireless to
staff and students living in greater North Dunedin had been
put on hold pending a feasibility study.
Mr Harte said the network upgrade would be replacing "end-of
life infrastructure" and increasing its speed would cater for
the growth in demand for bandwidth.
"This speed increase is critical to meet the demand from
staff and students for research, teaching and learning, and
administration," Mr Harte said.
It would also allow the delivery new "advanced" services
which would likely be required during the lifetime of the new
The wireless upgrade would provide staff and students
"ubiquitous wireless... irrespective of location within the
boundaries of each university campus".
He said it would likely be a "couple of years" before a
decision was made on whether to go ahead with the plan to
provide free wireless to students and and staff in North
The final decision would in part depend on how successful the
Government's rollout of ultra-fast broadband was.
Mr Harte said the university's network was eighth largest
information and communications technology network in New
"The university network is a fundamental and vital
infrastructure which includes connections to and within the
Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Invercargill campuses
plus the Auckland Centre and Wellington city office," he