Broadband to expand

Following news the Government's ultra-fast broadband will be introduced to 14 Dunedin schools by July this year comes a promise to provide the service to a further 21 Dunedin schools and two Oamaru schools by July next year.

A further 12 schools in Central Otago will receive high-speed wireless or satellite connections by July next year under the Government's rural broadband initiative.

The faster internet connections will help schools converse with the world and prepare pupils for living and working in the 21st century.

It is expected the service will transform teaching practices in New Zealand schools by enabling them to share scarce teaching resources like physics and IT teachers, and pupils will be able to take part in virtual classrooms and courses that might not be available at their own schools.

Otago Primary Principals' Association president Brent Caldwell said the initiatives were essential to the success of schools wanting to realise the vision of the New Zealand curriculum.

"That is, that our children are active, confident, connected, lifelong learners.

"With this in mind, I would hope to see the rest of Dunedin and Otago's schools connected well before the 2015 timeline.

"For the 21 schools selected, this news will be an exciting boost. It will provide them with a wealth of new opportunities to enjoy exciting new digital teaching and learning experiences."

While Mr Caldwell was pleased ultra-fast broadband was being provided to schools, he said the problem was many Otago schools were still waiting to be included in the School Network Upgrade Project (SNUP) under which their internal infrastructures would be upgraded to be able to use the larger volumes of data delivered by UFB.

"A 21st-century connection needs 21st-century infrastructure."

National List MP Michael Woodhouse, of Dunedin, said building a more competitive and productive economy was one of the Government's four key priorities for its second term, and the introduction of UFB and RBI was a vital part of it.

The Government was spending $1.65 billion on the initiatives, he said.

The Otago schools are among a further 693 schools to be connected to the ultra-fast broadband network.

By July next year, at least 410,000 pupils at more than 1500 schools around the country will be connected under both initiatives.

By the end of 2015, 97.7% of schools and 99.9% of pupils will have access to ultra-fast fibre enabling speeds of 100 Mbps.

The remaining schools, which are in the most remote locations, will receive a high-speed wireless or satellite connection.

UFB network Dunedin schools to be connected to ultra-fast broadband (UFB) by July 2012
Arthur Street, Balmacewen Intermediate, Bayfield High, Carisbrook, Columba College, George Street Normal, John McGlashan College, Kavanagh College, King's High, Maori Hill, Otago Boys' High, Queen's High, Sawyers Bay, St Hilda's Collegiate

Dunedin schools to be connected to UFB by July 2013
Bathgate Park, Broad Bay, Brockville, Halfway Bush, Kaikorai, Liberton Christian, Macandrew Bay, Musselburgh, Portobello, Ravensbourne, Sacred Heart, Sara Cohen, St Bernadette's, St Brigid's, St Clair, St Joseph's Cathedral, St Leonard's, St Mary's, St Peter Chanel, Tahuna Normal Intermediate, Tainui, plus Oamaru Intermediate, Pembroke School (Oamaru)

Otago schools to be connected to rural broadband initiative (RBI) by July 2013
Alexandra, Dunstan High, St Gerard's School, The Terrace School, Arrowtown, Warepa, Taieri Beach, Waikoikoi, Flag Swamp, Waitahuna, Mt Aspiring College, Wanaka Primary.


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