Schools can share UFB with communities

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Schools with ultra-fast broadband will soon be able to share their fibre connections with their local communities.

Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye said that in communities with poor connectivity - usually rural or remote areas - schools would soon be able to make their fibre infrastructure available to others.

The Manaiakalani Education Trust was a good example of how a wide area network for a cluster of schools could give students access to online services and broaden their learning environment, Ms Kaye said.

Pt England Primary School was one of the nine schools in the Tamaki area of Auckland which made up the trust.

Principal Russell Burt said Manaiakalani (the hook from heaven) was an innovative early adopter of the digital hubs initiative.

"What we are is a group of schools that work with our community ... in order to be able to take our broadband and distribute it to children's homes as a learning network so that the school experience is replicated at home.

"It's not a community wireless network, it's a children's school-based learning network. The filters that the school experiences in terms of internet filtering management, oversight and all of that are applied at home as well."

The Manaiakalani trust used an unlicensed network to transmit wireless internet, Mr Burt said.

It had been assisted by the Auckland Council, Vector and Auckland Transport to use the lampposts to install wireless transmitters.

Transmission points on the roofs of the schools then relayed the internet signal across the Tamaki community, he said. Students with school-enrolled devices were then able to access the network.

"This move supports students to engage in learning anywhere, at any time. Families will have a greater ability to connect with their children's learning, and schools' connections to their communities will be strengthened," Ms Kaye said.

- NZ Herald

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