The Government has connected the last remote school to faster broadband, as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative.
According to Communications Minister Amy Adams, New Zealand’s 49 most remote schools are now connected.
The final school connected was Kaitieke School in Owhango, in the Ruapehu district.
The Remote Schools Broadband Initiative (RSBI) was established in 2012 to improve broadband services to remote schools.
The Government allocated $2.2 million to connect the schools, as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative. Adam’s says it’s part of the Government’s aim to ensure all schools can connect to broadband.
The programme provides point-to-point wireless broadband (at least 10 megabits per second) for small schools in remote rural areas, where fibre would not be cost-effective.
“Previously, these schools may have been reliant on dial-up or intermittent connections so this new service is a game-changer for them,” Adams says.
“Our rural communities are just as important as our major centres and the RSBI programme reaffirms our commitment to reducing the digital divide,” she explains.
“Connectivity is important for students all over the country, but it’s particularly critical for those living in isolated parts of New Zealand.
“Faster broadband enables our most remote schools to access the best online resources and break down the barriers created from distance,” Adams continues.
“Students will have the ability to connect to an endless digital library of information and share scarce resources like Māori medium teachers.
“This access and flexibility will improve the way our young people learn and help them prepare for a 21st century world.
“With access to computers and broadband, around 975 pupils in these remote areas are learning to operate effectively in a digital world,” Adams says.
“Families in the surrounding area will also be able to access faster broadband, giving these connections a community-wide benefit that goes beyond the classroom.”