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Govt extends timing on broadband rollout


Govt extends timing on broadband rollout

Unexpectedly high interest has resulted in the Government extending the tender date for Project Probe, a country-wide initiative that will ensure all schools and communities, in rural areas and urban areas, have access to high speed internet services.

The tender date will be extended and the Government will explore enhancing the broadband benefits the project might deliver, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"There's a lot of excitement developing around broadband and the opportunities it offers to improve the delivery of government services to people outside the main centres. As the potential benefits are so great, it's important that we take this extra month to ensure that we can accommodate the proposals that are coming forward."

Project Probe is a joint initiative between the Ministries of Education and Economic Development. It aims to ensure all schools and communities have access to broadband services.

Discussions are underway with other Government departments about plans to enhance delivery of their services through broadband technology.

Trevor Mallard said the Request for Proposal would be sent to the 18 selected suppliers in late December, with a closing date of late February 2003.

"We will still be on track to meet our target of having broadband access to schools and communities in place by the end of 2004."

Trevor Mallard said broadband was the infrastructure for the knowledge economy, as important as roads and railways were to previous generations.

"We need to ensure that infrastructure is capable of meeting regional needs and the government's policy objectives so that the full benefits of broadband can be realised throughout the country."

"The potential is enormous and the proposals that we're considering are very exciting," he said.

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