1000 schools to have fast internet

MICHAEL FOREMAN
Last updated 14:03 07/08/2014

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Pupils at up to 1000 schools will be connected to a free high-speed internet service by the end of the year.

Crown-owned company Network for Learning (N4L) said more than 225,000 pupils from 700 schools have connected to its managed network.

The company hopes to connect another 300 schools by the end of the year.

N4L says its fully funded package offers schools the best available mix of ultra-fast, rural and remote broadband.

The network provides schools with high-speed internet without data caps, content filtering and network security services.

Franz Josef School principal Janet Ristow said the N4L network was helping her school's 37 pupils forge better connections to events and people outside their small rural community.

"It is so incredible to have an internet connection that works when we want and need to use it," she said.

"We've been streaming some of the highlights of the Commonwealth Games, which would have been impossible with our previous internet connection."

High-speed internet had allowed for greater collaboration online with other schools, she said.

Bruce Hart, principal at Hutt Valley's Heretaunga College, said he was pleased with the difference the network had made to his school since it was installed last December.

"We've been able to make significant progress using software and devices that support our learning plans," he said.

N4L chief executive officer John Hanna said strong demand from schools had helped to achieve a faster than expected rollout of the network.

The company had earlier aimed at connecting 700 schools by the end of the year, he said.

N4L aims to connect all 2539 schools in New Zealand to the network by the end of 2016.

The company's website says 2261 schools have registered their interest in connecting.

N4L is also developing the Pond digital learning hub that allows teachers to find learning resources and collaborate with other teachers anywhere in the country.

The hub, which can be accessed with any internet connection, is being introduced to teachers progressively in a ''beta test" live trial.

N4L said the hub would be available to all teachers by the end of the year.

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- Stuff

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