Computerworld

REANNZ recommends national education network rollout

$150 million is the magic figure for high-speed broadband to schools

A six-month trial of a national education network (NEN) with 20 schools has been deemed to be so successful that a recommendation has been made to roll it out to all schools.

The Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ), which led the trial, also made the recommendation. It estimates that high-performance broadband can be delivered to every classroom in New Zealand for “only” $150 million.

Co-incidentally, that figure is exactly what the government has indicatively set aside to provide infrastructure to schools. It has already announced $34 million toward ICT infrastructure.

The trial was funded by the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission and the National Library. Completed on December 15, it tested the architecture and explored the educational benefits.

REANNZ chief executive Donald Clark says two reports into the trial show that it was a huge success. It proved the benefits of the open access NEN architecture and it allowed teachers to expose their students to the sorts of schools, techniques and experiences that will equip them to be the knowledge workers New Zealand requires to drive its future productivity, he says.

“As a not-for-profit Crown company with two years experience of running New Zealand’s advanced network, KAREN, REANNZ is in a prime position to aggregate schools’ broadband demand to procure connectivity to an open, transparent, high-performance network.”

The NEN reports are available here and here (both pdfs).