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Schools Wire Up For Telecom Netday 2000

Volunteers are preparing to descend on schools around the country this Saturday for Telecom NetDay 2000, a high-tech working bee to help students get the most from the Internet and computers.

Armed with enough cable to cross Cook Strait twice, they’ll help schools to link computers in their classrooms, libraries and offices into a network, at a far lower cost than each school would face on its own.

Telecom NetDay 2000 is a partnership between business, the community, central and local government which will build networks at around 120 schools nationwide this weekend, with the help of some three thousand volunteers.

“Networking allows a school to take the power of the Internet out of the computer room somewhere deep in the building, and to make it an integral part of daily learning,” says Telecom’s Development General Manager Dr Murray Milner.

“Without a network schools will find themselves very limited in their ability to offer students on-line learning experiences,” Dr Milner says.

“Telecom is the second biggest funder of education in New Zealand after the Government, and we’ve donated $57 million over the last seven years to such projects,” he says.

Telecom NetDay 2000 volunteers include parents, teachers, students, dozens of local MPs and mayors, Telecom staff, and workers from other sponsoring companies. They’ll install high quality network components; digging cable trenches, running cables between rooms and buildings, and hooking computers up to the network.

“More than 25,000 students around the country will benefit from the cabling installed on Saturday,” says Telecom NetDay 2000 Chairperson Laurence Zwimpfer.

“Our huge volunteer network, our sponsors and central and local government can be proud that this year’s Telecom NetDay 2000 will continue to provide schools with the help they need,” Mr Zwimpfer says.

A network allows a school to share Internet learning opportunities between classrooms while paying for just a single access line.

It also allows the sharing of disk drives, printers, expensive software and CD-ROMs; common access to course material and data; easier management of software and administration systems; and the freeing up of memory so computers can run faster.

In all, Telecom NetDay 2000 volunteers around the country will lay around 150,000 metres of cabling and install about 3,500 wall outlets, 4,200 metres of fibre optic cable, 2,600 ports and 3,500 metres of conduit.

As well as helping the 120 schools involved on Telecom NetDay 2000 itself - the NetDay organisation is also providing training to nearly 400 other schools working on cabling projects during the year.

Telecom NetDay 2000 is co-ordinated by the 20 20 Communications Trust. This is New Zealand’s third annual NetDay event.

The NetDay concept originated in the United States, where it was found that by using volunteer labour and community relationships, schools could install cabling at prices that were between four and ten times less expensive than commercial rates.


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