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Ultra-fast broadband and your school - what's happening?

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Started by Enabling e-Learning 11 Aug 2011 9:49am () Replies (13)

There is a growing exploration of what the fibre roll-out may mean for your school - some schools are well down the track, while others are beginning to explore the implications for their own students, budget, infrastructure and so on. Here in the VLN....

It would be useful to start to gather those schools together here who are going through the same experiences.

How do you think your school placed to take advantage of the fibre roll-out?

What issues are you grappling with?



  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 16 Aug 2011 8:56am ()

    You might be interested in this story just published in Computer World [16 August 2011]:

    "A secondary school with a student population larger than some New Zealand towns, intends to allow its 3200 students free access to the internet from next year.

    Rangitoto College on Auckland’s North Shore has developed a wi-fi network that will cover 134 classrooms situated on the school’s 31 hectares. Associate principal Don Hastie says there are 130 access points and each one can support up to 90 devices..."

    How do-able would this be for other schools?

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 30 Aug 2011 4:25pm ()

    Ultra-fast Broadband in Schools update.

    Two further contracts tendered for Rural Broadband Initiative

    This week the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) invited registrations of interest for two further contracts under the Rural Broadband Initiative. These will provide:

    • fibre to all schools that are not currently covered under previous contracts for the Government’s urban and rural fibre roll outs
    • improved broadband access to schools in regions too remote for fibre to be a practical option.

    For more information visit MED’s website. All affected schools have been sent an email update from our School Connection Project Manager Ann Bentley.

    Summary of schools and coverage areas now available online

    Now that the coverage areas making up the nationwide Government roll out have been confirmed, we have published a spreadsheet on the Ministry of Education website summarising which initiative will provide each school with improved broadband access.

    Once more complete information about fibre connection timeframes (year by year) is available for the majority of schools, we will update the spreadsheet to include this. Each school is also being notified directly of their connection date as soon as we receive this information from the provider.

    A reminder that the Ministry does not control which schools fall into each of the coverage areas or the timeframe for your connection.

    As always, if you have any questions, or feedback, please email us via ufb.schools@minedu.govt.nz


  • Enabling e-Learning (View all users posts) 04 Nov 2011 1:52pm ()

    This video has just gone up on the CORE EdTalks site.

    Trevor Storr, Co-Director of e-Learning at Cantanet, talks about the possibilities ultra fast broadband (UFB) brings to collaborative education. Trevor asks how we might organise learning when all learners have easy access to the internet, and he calls for innovative ways to allow sharing and collaboration to take place.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 20 Mar 2012 2:05pm ()


    I’m looking forward to the FREE online seminar with Douglas Harré this Thursday on, When ultra-fast broadband comes to you, where to start?

    So far I understand that ultra-fast broadband can offer us:

    • speed
    • capacity
    • reliability


    Which will enable us to things like (amongst other things):

    • video conferencing
    • accessing multi-media resources
    • having multiple classes at one time accessing online resources
    • utilising off-site storage and backup


    I have also been thinking about ways to work/teach/learn effectively with faster broadband, so have enjoyed reading Derek Wenmoth’s blog post on Teaching, Learning & UFB.  “It’s not about the technology, it’s about the pedagogy.”

    So what could this look like?

    One particular story grabbed my attention in the Nen Evaluation Project, where students from Kristin School and Christ's College were receiving High Definition Video Conference Music lessons online, so they could play music together from different locations. Reminds me of the Iggy Pop Orcon advertisement from a couple of years ago.

    The benefits were recognised - in terms of the speed advantages as well as the ability to encourage multiple simultaneous participants through HD video conferencing.


    For more go to:

    Nen Evaluation Project - case studies

    Ultra-fast fibre for education

    REANNZ - case studies

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 23 Mar 2012 4:00pm ()

    I found the webinar When ultra-fast broadband comes to you, where to start? - with Douglas Harré very helpful in putting together some basic information about:

    • what fibre is
    • how it works - i.e much faster upload and download speeds
    • what difference it could make in schools - both in terms of saving money by housing content in the cloud, and the impacts on teaching and learning with much faster internet speeds
    • practical information preparing for ultra-fast broadband both with hardware and professional development. 

    I have summarised the information onto a word doc and the webinar is now online http://bit.ly/GP78mo

    I think the key messages were, don't panic, there is time, and prepare your staff for ufb with plenty of PD.

    So what are you doing? What's working? If you have ultra-fast broadband - what difference has it made.

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 18 Apr 2012 3:57pm ()

    The Ministry of Education has created a searchable database showing individual schools when they are likely to get connected to fibre. 

    The Schools connection database, which is accessed from the Enabling e-Learning website, makes it easy for schools to find out when they, and schools near to them will be connected to ultra-fast broadband. For further information see my post in the thread, How to manage ultra-fast broadband.

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 08 May 2012 12:55pm ()

    This post in the VLN Primary group, Rural Schools connect to discuss UFB, from Rachel provides useful information about RBI and broadband connection. Rural schools from Taranaki and around the country met with Howard Baldwin from the MoE last week to discuss progress towards access to Ultra Fast Broadband in our schools. You can view the recorded session here.

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 05 Jun 2012 10:22am ()

    Peter Mancer (MLE Reference Group) posted these six useful questions to ask when choosing your retail service provider. You can access these questions from this Google doc

    1. What is the CIR (Committed Information Rate) on my connection?

    Although you may be quoted for a 30, 50 or 100Mbps connection speed these are peak values only that you may sometimes attain.  Congestion within the fibre provider's network (such as Chorus) and the RSP's network may mean that the speeds could be a lot lower.  The fibre providers do have CIR speeds that they guarantee to the RSP so you need to check to see what that speed is and if your RSP is matching that CIR within their own network.  The CIR will usually be a much lower speed - for example 10Mbps.  But this is a guaranteed minimum that you should always attain.

    2. Will the CIR be available for both National and International Traffic?

    The higher cost of international internet bandwidth over domestic makes ISPs more careful with how it is provisioned.  Check that you can reach the full CIR with your international traffic and not just domestic.

    3. What is the Contention Ratio of the International Bandwidth?

    Internet bandwidth is usually shared between a number of customers because of concurrency where not all customers access it at exactly the same instant in time.  The amount of sharing is known as the contention ratio, for example, a 10:1 contention ratio means that you will be sharing your connection with 10 other customers.  New Zealand ISPs will have a range of contention ratios between 10:1 and possibly 50:1 or worse.  A ratio of 10:1 is very good and you will be likely to get your full CIR at all times.  For a comparison, contention ratios on the ADSL network can reach 150:1.

    4. Does your RSP Offer Caching?

    YouTube and Akamai caches, for example, within your RSP network will ensure that your YouTube access and commonly accessed files such as Windows, Apple and AV updates are fast without affecting your international bandwidth.

    5. What Service are You getting?

    Ring the RSP helpdesk to find out how long you will be placed on hold and when you do connect find out if they understand schools and their requirements.

    6. What is the Charge if I exceed my Data Cap?

    Be careful about plans with data caps as with fibre you will use data much more quickly that on ADSL connections.  A cheap plan with a low data cap may be soon turn out to be an expensive plan with heavy excess charges."

    Originally posted in the MLE Reference Group

  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 05 Jun 2012 10:26am ()

    There is also useful information on Enabling e-Learning l Choosing a retail service provider which can help you with the process.

  • Karen Spencer (View all users posts) 23 Aug 2012 2:38pm ()

    HI all,

    I am cross-posting this from the MLE Reference Group, on behalf of Laurence Millar of the 20/20 Communications Trust:

    There has been a lot of discussion... about the pros and cons of  different RSP (Retail Service Provider) offers, prices and terms.

    Has your school got as far as running your internet connectivity over UFB fibre?

    I am interested in preparing a status report on progress in connecting to UFB, and while I know of a lot of schools that have "fibre to the gate", it is along way from there to operational use.

    Thanks for your reply

    Laurence Millar

    Chair 2020 Communications Trust

    +64 21 441 461


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e-Learning: Technologies

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