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Satellite trial proves rural schools' net access

Satellite trial proves remote rural schools can have high-speed broadband now

An eight-week trial of satellite delivered high-speed broadband for two remote rural South Island schools has been successfully completed. The trial, established to test the effectiveness of satellite as a means of providing a high-speed broadband link, was conducted in Winchester Rural School in Canterbury and Haast Rural School on the West Coast.

The Farmside sponsored trial has demonstrated that satellite delivered high-speed broadband provides a realistic option for highly remote rural schools to be connected to the Internet.

Andrena Norris, Principal of Winchester Rural School is convinced that rural kids are disadvantaged and delayed in the types of educational experiences they can access and she feels the gap between urban and rural equality in education grows day by day.

“Having a high-speed broadband connection has made a huge difference to what our pupils are able to do, see and learn. Rural kids are disadvantaged and delayed in the types of educational experiences that urban schools and communities have easily accessed. Having the Farmside high-speed broadband access has literally transformed classroom programmes and greatly enhanced children’s motivation and learning.”

Both schools will go back to their pre-trial connections until the results of the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) tender process, expected to be finalised later this year, can provide more clarity on how they will access high-speed broadband.

“Rural schools must have access to high-speed broadband now to help achieve the same educational objectives as urban children. Farmside acknowledges fibre as an aspiration goal for rural communities, but it may take some years to install. We can meet the RBI 10mbps/5mbps speed requirements right now for rural schools at a fraction of the RBI budget. Why make them wait any longer?” said Tony Baird, Farmside’s CEO.

“Satellite broadband is an excellent and cost-effective bridging technology. With the risk of a whole generation of rural primary school kids missing out on the benefits of high-speed broadband, they need 21st century technology now.”

“I urge the Government, as part of the RBI, to invest in satellite as part of the high-speed broadband solution for rural schools,” said Tony Baird.


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