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More schools to gain broadband access

More schools to gain broadband access

High speed internet access will be available to a further 423 schools as a result of seven further contracts signed this week between broadband provider Telecom and the Ministry of Education.

These new Project PROBE contracts will extend broadband coverage into the Taranaki, Wellington, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne/Hawke's Bay, West Coast, Manawatu/Wanganui and Otago regions.

Elizabeth Eppel Ministry of Education Group Manager and Project PROBE Steering Group Chair signed the contracts on behalf of Government and in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development (MED).

"Signing these contracts means we are well on the way to seeing broadband coverage extended to some 2700 schools and some 750,000 students nationwide by early next year," Elizabeth Eppel said.

"Broadband has enormous potential to support the effectiveness of our teachers and the learning achievements of all students by giving them access to interactive and multi-media learning resources and video conferencing.

"We are currently preparing to work with vendors and regional broadband committees to host a series of workshops to demonstrate the benefits of high speed internet to schools and their communities."

MED Deputy Secretary Lewis Holden said Project PROBE had the potential to lift economic achievement right across the country.

"Broadband is the means by which businesses in our regions will access quality information about markets, about their competitors, and the means by which they’ll stay in touch with and supply their customers."

Telecom General Manager Regions Dudley Enoka said in conjunction with extending broadband coverage into seven more PROBE regions Telecom was looking forward to working with local representatives to explore how the technology can be used to drive economic development.

"Partnering programme discussions are well underway with some regions and we look forward to developing these further."

Elizabeth Eppel said signing the contracts was another step forward in Government's multimillion-dollar investment to boost education and economic development through the delivery of broadband technology to regional New Zealand.

"We now look forward to the remaining contracts being signed for Auckland, Canterbury, Northland and the Wairarapa as well as a contract for the satellite option which will extend broadband coverage to very remote parts of the country."

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