Country school connects to UFB

Last updated 05:00 11/02/2013
HOOKED UP: Ngahinapouri School students Luke Duff, 5, left, and his brother Andrew, 10, and Jacque Hoebers, 6, are among the first students in the Waikato to experience ultra-fast broadband.
PETER DRURY/ Fairfax NZ

HOOKED UP: Ngahinapouri School students Luke Duff, 5, left, and his brother Andrew, 10, and Jacque Hoebers, 6, are among the first students in the Waikato to experience 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.

Ngahinapouri School principal Wayne Asplin said that 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."

The school has had big problems with servers slowing down and failing.

"We've had terribly frustrating experiences in the past," Mr Asplin said.

In one such case 20 children doing their ESOL tests online were halfway through the tests when everyone was booted off the system.

Most of the 166 students at Ngahinapouri School were familiar with iPads or iPhones because they used them at home, Mr Asplin said.

"The funny thing is that they live in this hi-tech world," he said.

"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 to ultra-fast broadband by Hamilton company Lightwire.

Lightwire specialises in providing innovative broadband services.

The company, which is a spinoff of the University of Waikato, will also connect Te Pahu, Paterangi and Koromatua schools.

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- Waikato Times

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