How many schools will benefit from ultra-fast broadband in the first year of the roll-out?
Good news. The roll-out of ultra-fast broadband, enabling fibre to schools, is progressing well, and will see 221 schools around the country connected by the end of June next year by Crown Fibre Holdings partner Chorus. In addition, four schools in Tauranga, four in Whanganui, and one in Hamilton will be connected by Ultrafast Broadband Ltd, and a further 12 schools will be connected in Whangarei by Northpower. All up, this will see nearly 100,000 school students benefiting from ultra-fast broadband in just the first year of the roll-out.
What has been the reaction of schools that have already been connected to fibre?
They are absolutely delighted with the high-tech service and the opportunities it is bringing to their children. The technology means their students can instantly access the best teachers and the best online resources from anywhere in the world. Manaia View School principal, Leanne Ōtene, said that she was delighted with the possibilities of the new fibre service. I quote: “UFB is making a significant difference already. We’re uploading and downloading video incredibly quickly and the iPod Touches in use in our classrooms are humming. We now have an innovative broadband service to max the way we teach.” However, I have to point out that kids could miss out on accessing one of the most wired education systems in the world if the project were to be unilaterally changed, as promised by Labour’s information and communications technology spokeswoman, Clare Curran.
Kia ora, Mr Speaker. Kia ora tātou. Can he advise the House on the input of Ngā Pū Waea in the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband to ensure that kōhanga reo, kura, and wānanga will benefit from it?
Yes, I was actually with the Minister of Māori Affairs the other day and we signed the final terms of reference with Ngā Pū Waea and the contractors that are involved in rolling out the broadband programme. I am pleased to report that they are working well together and that one of the areas they are focused on is ensuring that the wānanga, the kura, and the kōhanga reo get the opportunity to be signed up as soon as possible for the benefits of ultra-fast broadband.