Meremere School in the North Waikato is today celebrating its status as the 500th school to be connected to better, faster broadband through the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).
At a special reception at the school, Telecom surprised the 40 students, years one to six, with two special guests - one of New Zealand’s most celebrated athletes, Olympic gold medallist rower Nathan Cohen, along with Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson.
Cohen spent the time talking to the excited kids about the new technology at Meremere School, as well as how technology was enabling Kiwis to challenge the rest of the world in the pursuit of excellence.
Mayor Sanson said, "As a predominantly rural district, the Rural Broadband Initiative is a significant step in enabling our communities to connect to the world and we’re pleased that Telecom has chosen the Waikato to celebrate the milestone of the 500th school connection."
In acknowledgement of this milestone, Telecom equipped the decile one school with computers, licenses for popular e-learning software programmes ‘Mathletics’, ‘Reading Eggs’ and ‘Spellodrome’, as well as a free fibre connection to the school.
"It’s great for our children to have the opportunity to be up-to-date with technology. Fibre has meant we have faster access to the internet and we’d like to thank Telecom for providing us with the connectivity and equipment to be able to benefit from this," said Principal Heather Green.
David Walker, Telecom’s Rural Market Manager, echoes this enthusiasm for the world of online learning available, "Kiwi kids are hungry for knowledge, and often have a better grasp of the information at their fingertips via the Internet than their parents and grandparents,"
"We are committed to connecting our future leaders to that world of possibilities to amplify their education and reward that natural curiosity, no matter if they’re in urban centres or in New Zealand’s heartland."
The Rural Broadband Initiative is being rolled out across New Zealand to deliver ultrafast broadband to rural communities. All public hospitals and schools, as well as a large number of public libraries, will receive a fibre connection.
Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) in the Waikato
Telecom has been trialling and testing residential fibre products and will launch a residential product with Chorus in March. In the Waikato, where infrastructure is
being largely handled by local fibre company Ultra Fast Fibre, Telecom will have a residential and business product available by the end of 2013.
Chris Quin, CEO Telecom Retail said: "The arrival in New Zealand of faster broadband via fibre will deliver the future to our doorstep and put us within a split-second of the rest of the world. This is going to be especially evident in faster broadband’s impact on e-learning and the future education of Kiwi kids.
"Our focus is on making sure that when we roll out a residential product we are able to provide a high-quality customer experience. While we’re finalising our products, pricing and service ahead of launch, there are a few things that people might want to think about in getting prepared for UFB, including how you can optimise your home or business to make the transition to fibre easy."
More information on getting prepared for fibre is available at: www.telecom.co.nz/fibre