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Telecom Completes Eight Probe Contracts

Thu, 23 Dec 2004

Telecom Completes Eight Probe Contracts In Time For Christmas

Telecom has completed its commitment to Project PROBE in eight out of the eleven Telecom PROBE regions, and is on track to deliver broadband access to remaining schools by June 2005. The final extended community coverage will be achieved by August 2005.

Telecom was awarded eleven of the 15 PROBE regional contracts by the Government, and this week officially completed its broadband deployment on schedule in eight regions including the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu–Wanganui, Gisborne-Hawke’s Bay, West Coast, Otago and Wellington (completed earlier in June 2004).

Programme Manager for PROBE Janet Mazenier says the completion of the contracts marks a major milestone in meeting the objectives of the Government’s Project PROBE.

“The regions that have been completed today are the eight regions which Telecom was originally contracted to deploy under the original tender process, and, if you ask me, rural New Zealand couldn't have had a better Christmas present,” Ms Mazenier said.

“As a result of Project PROBE, a significantly high percentage of schools are now getting access to broadband. And, as the schools gain access, nearby businesses and residential users are also experiencing increased access.”

Bringing broadband to rural schools through PROBE has made an enormous difference to how children in remote areas learn about the world around them, Ms Mazenier said.

“Through our Schoolzone service, school students have been able to visit Antarctica to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s crossing, and meet Weta Workshop wizard Richard Taylor, who hosted a conference where he talked about special effects used in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.”

“It really is amazing to see the doors opened by the Government’s commitment to broadband for New Zealand children living in smaller communities.”

The PROBE partnership programme and the Ministry of Education’s Getting ConnectED Roadshow, which toured 16 locations nationwide between July and September of this year, have also been a major factor in stimulating interest in high-speed Internet access in the wider residential business and residential communities, she added.

The remaining three Telecom PROBE regions, Northland, Canterbury and Wairarapa will be completed as planned in (August) 2005.

PROBE Case Study

PROBE keeps Cobden kids connected

Students at Cobden Primary School on the South Island’s West Coast have relished the new worlds and educational experiences they have explored via our SchoolZone video conferencing service.

SchoolZone lets students all over New Zealand learn and share teaching resources, and means distance is no longer a barrier to learning for smaller schools like Cobden.

Schoolzone’s been such a hit with Cobden’s pupils that they wrote a letter to their board of trustees asking for the school to keep the video conferencing equipment after the trial period was over.

Year seven’s Tayla Lavery wanted the video conferencing equipment to stay ‘because it is a good opportunity to connect with other schools and learn, after all we’re here to learn.”

Her classmate Sheree Moles agreed, writing “I think we should keep the video conferencing equipment because it is good experience for the future and it’s interesting.”

Tayla and Sheree can look forward to many more in-school video conferences as we’ve donated the equipment they used during the pilot to Cobden School.

Cobden is one of four pilot schools Telecom has been working with to trial its Schoolzone service as part of our Project Probe commitments. Telecom’s involvement in the government’s Project Probe initiative means the company has been at the forefront of bringing broadband to schools and their surrounding communities throughout New Zealand.

ENDS


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