Taieri College has become one of the first schools in Otago
and Southland to connect to the ultrafast broadband network,
and it is having a major impact on the school's operations.
Nearly 140 schools in the Dunedin, Invercargill, Oamaru and
Queenstown areas now have fibre built to the school gates.
Taieri College is one of only 38 which have ordered and been
connected to it through one of the retail service providers.
The majority of schools with fibre running past their gate
have not yet connected because they are waiting for the
Ministry of Education to provide free access through its
Network for Living (N4L) initiative.
However, Taieri College principal David Hunter said the
school decided not to wait, and connected with a retail
service provider last week because there did not seem to be a
confirmed date for when N4L would be available to the school.
The first schools are expected to connect through N4L by the
end of 2013, with more than 700 schools connecting by the end
of 2014, and all schools will be able to connect by the end
''We could be waiting for a long time. It's one of those
things - we haven't been given an indication of when it will
be available for us.''
It was necessary to connect to ultrafast broadband because
the school used more than 300 computers at any given time,
and under the previous system their operations were very
slow, Mr Hunter said.
''No-one likes watching that little circle go around and
''The new system is much quicker and it allows us to do so
much more with our students, teaching-wise.
''There were limitations to what we could do. Those
limitations have been taken away.
''The school is able to do video conferencing without
affecting the school's other computers; we can download video
content much faster; and future-wise it will potentially open
many more educational doors.''
Overall, ultrafast broadband had brought an element of relief
to the school, he said.
''It's taken away a bit of frustration from the job. There's
nothing worse than a slow computer.''
Ultrafast broadband is still to be built to the gates of 93
other schools in the southern region.
The Ministry of Education hopes to establish fibre-based
connections to 97.7% of New Zealand schools and 99.9% of
pupils by 2016.
UFB and rural broadband
In the ultrafast broadband and rural broadband initiative
roll-out in Otago and Southland:
• Fibre available to 137 schools.
• 38 schools have connected.
• Fibre still to be made available to 93 schools.
• 97.7% of New Zealand schools to be connected by 2016.
• 2.3% of schools to have wireless technology.