School first to get ultra-fast broadband

HARRY PEARL
Last updated 12:42 08/02/2013
Ngahinapouri School students
Peter Drury/FAIRFAX NZ

Hooked up: Ngahinapouri School students Luke Duff, 5, and his brother Andrew, 10, and Jacque Hoebers, 6, are among the first students in the Waikato to expereince ultra-fast broadband.

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Students at Ngahinapouri School are the first in the Waikato to connect to ultra-fast broadband.

The primary school, west of Hamilton, is the first of a cluster of rural Waikato schools to take advantage of the Government's ultra fast broadband (UFB) programme and its rural broadband initiative (RBI).

Under the scheme, 97.7 per cent of schools are to be hooked up to a new fibre connection capable of speeds of up to 100 megabytes per second by 2016.

Principal of Ngahinapouri School Wayne Asplin said the ultra-fast broadband connection opened up more opportunities for both students and teachers.

''It gives us potential so that we can now have all of our kids to use the internet without it timing out, or internet connection hassles.''

In the past the school has had issues with servers slowing down and dropping out.

 ''We've had terribly frustrating experiences in the past, such as 20 children doing their ESOL tests online and halfway through the tests everyone being booted off the system.''

Most of the 166 students at his school used an iPad or iPhone at home, Mr Asplin said.

''The funny thing is that they live in this high tech world, but when they come to school, we
hand them a pencil.

''It doesn't make any sense to them that their school environment should be any different from home.''

The school was connected by Hamilton company Lightwire, which specialises in providing innovative broadband services.

The company, which is a spin-off of the University of Waikato, will also connect Te Pahu, Paterangi and Koromatua school.

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