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Final Project PROBE contract signed, cost revealed

Fri, 1 Oct 2004

Final Project PROBE contract signed, cost revealed

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Education Minister Trevor Mallard today announced the final cost of Project Probe - the government's rollout of high speed internet access to regions around New Zealand - following the signing of the final PROBE contract.

"Today the final contract was signed meaning high speed internet is on its way to 63 remote schools and their communities. ICONZ is the provider of broadband for this satellite region which includes the Chatham Islands," Trevor Mallard told the Navcon Learning for the Future conference in Christchurch today.

"Project PROBE (Provincial Broadband Extension) signifies our government's commitment to investing in critical infrastructure, with a total investment of $48.3 million. Details of the investment have not been able to be released previously because of commercial sensitivity during negotiations.

"Under the contract with ICONZ , schools will be provided with a 64kbps service which is burstable to higher speeds, and capable of supporting additional bandwidth to support a 512 kbps video conferencing service. Schools will pay a monthly rental of $150 for this, with the government providing a subsidy of $300 per month.

"This investment demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our very isolated and rural communities do not miss out on services that are taken for granted in urban areas.

"We will also be using the ICONZ combined satellite and wireless solution to solve some other particularly difficult-to-serve areas around the country including Canterbury's Waiau Valley and Haast on the West Coast.

"This is an investment that will boost education and economic development across New Zealand and it is an important part of our strategy to grow a more innovative economy.

"Broadband means students and their families, business people and communities will have opportunities in education and economic development regardless of where they live and work. High-speed internet means our industries can take world-class ideas to the international arena and our students can share teachers and resources with students elsewhere in New Zealand and overseas.

"We are set to see broadband coverage to most schools by the end of this year. The 63 schools and communities on the satellite option can expect to receive service progressively from now through to the middle of next year.

Questions and answers are attached. For more information see: www.probe.govt.nz

Questions and Answers What is Project PROBE? Project PROBE is a major government initiative. Project PROBE stands for Provincial Broadband Extension and has been developed jointly by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Economic Development.

What is Broadband? Broadband is the name given to two way high speed, high capacity, always connected form of telecommunications. It offers a unique opportunity to countries with low population densities such as New Zealand in addressing quality and timely healthcare access and equity issues across the spectrum of Health Information, Health Commerce and Telemedicine applications. To illustrate the capabilities of Broadband, the following table presents the time it takes to transfer a typical X-ray image from the Internet to a personal computer using different telecommunication types. Speed Time Dial-Up Internet 58 minutes ISDN Connection 24 minutes Residential Broadband
www.PROBE.govt.nz

ENDS


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