​Hamilton hones its educational skills as UFB network rolls out

“UFB is available and in action now in Hamilton."

School headmaster Royce Helm and Year 7 student Campbell Wood

School headmaster Royce Helm and Year 7 student Campbell Wood

Ultra-Fast Broadband has proved to be a game-changer for Hamilton’s Southwell School, which will be sharing its success at an event next month to showcase UFB in action.

To celebrate the completion of the UFB network in Hamilton, local fibre firm Ultrafast Fibre Limited is holding a three-day ‘Beyond Broadband’ Expo at Claudelands Events Centre from April 8-10.

Southwell School’s presentation will be one of a series of free workshops offering practical advice to the community, run in collaboration with the Cloud Speaker Series.

Ultrafast Fibre CEO William Hamilton says the Beyond Broadband Expo is designed to show Hamilton schools, businesses and residents how they can use UFB to “go faster” when they communicate, work and play online.

“UFB is available and in action now in Hamilton,” he says. “We want to encourage everyone across the city to see the benefits and opportunities of being connected.”

Southwell School Headmaster Royce Helm says the school has not looked back since connecting to UFB and introducing Chrome Books for all its students.

“We’ve found that UFB is the game changer because once you have it, everything then becomes possible; it’s transforming the way kids learn in the classroom,” he adds.

“By sharing our experiences using mobile devices on a UFB connection, we hope to help other schools and even businesses see what fast and reliable internet can do for them.”

Going forward, Helm is encouraging other schools to make the most of the new network now available in the city.

“When kids have to sit around waiting, they get distracted and that’s when they get off task and into mischief,” he explains.

“You can’t have a piece of software that takes 10 minutes to load or a webpage that takes 5 minutes to load. It just doesn’t cut the mustard.”

For Helm, such delays on the school’s old internet connection prompted the school to start exploring solutions - deciding on a UFB connection and Chrome Books for students.

“Our whole internet traffic use just exploded because the kids found that they could just get on and do stuff,” he adds.

“If you put this kind of technology in the hands of kids, the first thing they do is video stuff.

“They do audio recordings; they try to email it. They try to download all sorts of things from the web. They will push your network to the limit, as kids do. They take video clips of each other in high-definition and then they wonder why they can’t email it.

“And they get cranky when they’re not able to do it. So it’s up to us as a school to provide the facilities so they can do all of that.”

Learning transformation

Helm says UFB is transforming the way students are learning.

“In a social studies class, you might be talking about American Civil Rights,” he explains. “In a classroom when I went to school, you would read an article about Martin Luther King and what he talked about.

“But now in a modern classroom, you get Martin Luther King on YouTube and you watch the clip. You watch it in the classroom and the kids get it straight away.

“That’s the difference. and we can do that with 25 laptops in a classroom simultaneously with no delay. And that’s not just happening in one classroom, that’s potentially happening in 25 classrooms.”

Helm says UFB has also been the catalyst for the school to switch to a cloud storage system, coupled with a programme that allows teachers to access all their students’ work in a collaborated format.


Hamilton says a range of workshops will run throughout the Expo, covering topics including Gamefroot’s ‘Create your own game’, TGM Creative’s ‘It’s time the world discovers you…online’, and Ultrafast Fibre’s ‘Demystifying your UFB connection’.

In addition, a variety of technology companies and broadband retail service providers will be at the Expo, allowing people to speak directly with the experts and obtain one-to-one advice.

“If you’re a computer novice wanting to chat online with family overseas, or if you’re looking for ways to innovate in your business, we’ll have advice that’s relevant to you,” Hamilton adds.

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