School principals want ultra-fast broadband for free, says Hamish White, CEO of Hawke's Bay telecommunications company NOW (formerly Airnet).
"We asked the principals of Hawke's Bay's schools what they wanted," he said.
"Their response was simple. They wanted faster broadband with unlimited data allowances, and what's more, they wanted to have it all for free."
On Thursday NOW launched their SmarterSchools programme at the War Memorial Centre in Napier which had speakers from UnisonFibre and Craig Young, head of industry relations at Chorus.
"Up until recently a lot of schools had only heard from Unison, so we thought we would put together this function so they could hear all the options," Mr White said.
He said schools really could have broadband for free, if they had a supportive community.
SmarterSchools enabled households to donate 5 per cent of their monthly account which was credited to their school's NOW broadband and calling account.
"The exciting thing here is that the funds they save on telecommunications can be spent on non-government funded extra curricular or learning resources, like iPads, playgrounds and rugby tackle pads."
Schools are eligible for free local calling and NOW's rollover data, where if a data allowance is not used within a month it is credited to the next month's account, a feature unique to NOW.
Founded in 2002, and formerly known as Airnet, NOW:
Services 38 of the regions schools.
Is recognised by central government as a designated telecommunications carrier.
Was one of the first to embrace the government's Local Loop Unbundling regulation, giving the company access to Chorus' last mile network.
Is the only telecommunications company that can connect customers to either UnisonFibre or Chorus next generation fibre.