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RBI Reality Check

Just because you have fibre at your gate doesn't mean you can hook in and use it! (No surprises there for some)

With much hype and media surrounding the rollout of RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative) it has been a frustrating reality check for schools to find that they are unable to find a RSP (Retail Service Provider) to hook them up (or one they can afford). Out of the 400 schools signed off as 'connected' only a couple have been able to hook up so far! There has been quite a disconnect between the expectations of schools and the wider community with the reality of rolling out a huge and complex project such as this one. So large is this project it is taking - two government departments, and various sub-projects in various stages - RBI, RBI Phase 2, UFB, RSBI, & the Chathams (still in it's proposal form). No wonder it is so bewildering to make sense of for many - i have been following this closely and i struggle. Throw into the mix SNUPS and the proposed Network for Learning and you have got a recipe for a mental melt down.

QuestionsIt has been the topic of much discussion through the VLN Community and MLE group listservs where we have tried to share a clearer picture of the process and choices that schools will need to make. What makes this so challenging for schools is the number of variables that are in play - has the school been snupped, if not when will this happen? Although fibre may be dropped to the school, it may not be enabled at the exchange. There are more technical variables Handover Points, HSNS, GPON (all of which mean little to me) that will be different for different schools around the country. So with all of these variables it seems to be every school for themselves to make the best of it...

Recently though some Retail Service Providers have begun to make offers to schools - in particulary Call Plus, SNAP & Orcon. With the help of some colleagues I have started a draft comparison document so that schools can consider the possible choices. Schools should also factor into their decision-making joining the Network for Learning (N4L). Though scheduled to be available to schools mid-2013, it will likely have a 'soft start' with a few schools ironing out the wrinkles for the rest to follow, so consider being able to access this early 2014. So do you need to go into mental meltdown now - or just wait for the Network for Learning? My advice to schools i work with would be unless you are really struggling with your current connection (unfortunately quite a few are) then taihoa and see what the N4L will bring for you. For more advice and information check out this Principals' Briefing Document prepared by Trevor Storr (CantaNet)

The VLN Community - Home of the Learning Communities Online (LCO)

The VLN Community - Home of the Learning Communities Online (LCO)

The Virtual Learning Network Community (VLNC) is a network of school clusters who collaborate to provide access to curriculum and learning opportunities for students through online learning.