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PM launches high-speed internet initiative

10 October 2003 Media Statement

PM launches high-speed internet initiative in Southland

Prime Minister Helen Clark today launched Project Probe in Southland, an initiative which will provide high-speed internet access to 95 per cent of the region.

Project Probe is a government broadband extension project to bring high-speed internet access to schools and communities in regional New Zealand. By the end of next year most of New Zealand’s 2700 schools will have the same access.

Helen Clark launched the Southland initiative at Tuatapere Community College. It has been established as a joint partnership between the government and Venture Southland, the region’s economic development agency. The government is contributing $3.75 million to the initiative in Southland.

“Information technologies like Project Probe are transforming education in geographically remote schools by giving students greater learning opportunities,” Helen Clark said.

“What this new connection will mean for the students of Tuatapere Community College is access to world-class learning opportunities while studying on this campus. Students will have immediate online connection to the resources of the internet, and high quality video conferencing with teachers and resource people at any location where a video camera can be set up.

“It means they can have lessons they would previously had to leave home to pursue, or do by correspondence

“Project Probe demonstrates the critical role that ICT plays in addressing the country’s education and skills’ needs.

“Having a skilled and educated workforce is vital to our efforts to build a more innovative economy.

“That is why the government’s Growth and Innovation Framework identified information and communications technology, along with biotechnology and the creative industries, as three areas with considerable growth potential.

“Project Probe is closing the digital divide between rural and urban New Zealand, making sure that students have the same quality and options for education no matter where they live,” Helen Clark said.


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