Chorus and Network for Learning (N4L) – the government owned company providing a fully funded managed Internet service to New Zealand schools — have announced plans to upgrade schools’ Internet access to gigabit speeds, and to allow students to access their school network from home over WiFi.
In the first phase of the project Chorus and N4L will stage a proof of concept trial with Haeata Community Campus in Christchurch to extend the school’s internet service out into the homes of students and Chorus and N4L will provide gigabit broadband direct to classrooms in ten schools in the Far North and in parts of rural Gisborne.
Chorus said most schools had one broadband Internet connection and shared this using Wi-Fi access points in classrooms.
Chorus’ initial Haeata trial providing Wi-Fi access into the homes of the school community free of charge will start before Christmas and if successful, Chorus said it would look to expand the trial to other streets in the area, working with N4L to cover as much of the school’s catchment area as possible.
Students will be able to login from home using a school-provided device. “Students will have unlimited Internet access without having to worry about data caps and can stay safe in an online environment provided by the school and N4L.,” Chorus said.
In parallel with developing these new services Chorus said it would provide an upgrade that ensures every school served by N4L over the Chorus network had enough bandwidth to operate without any constraint, with a new fibre service specifically designed for schools (N4L serves schools using the networks of multiple Internet service providers).
Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie said schools’ demand for Internet bandwidth was growing rapidly in line with the growth of online learning and other sources of video.
“As a country, it is important that we not only keep up with this demand but also look at innovative ways that future-proof New Zealand to be a world-leader in this space,” she said.
N4L says its network is used by more than 811,000 students and teachers across 2400-plus schools throughout New Zealand. It provides Internet access with web and email filtering, security and performance monitoring, and remote access enabling its network these services to be accessed from other Internet services.