This week N4L (Network for Learning) will connect the 2000th school to its Managed Network, bringing fast, reliable internet services to 80 per cent of the country’s schools.
This means more than 600,000 students and 42,000 teachers across the country will this week have access to the government-funded Managed Network for quick and reliable internet services, complete with uncapped data, web filtering and network security services.
The Managed Network rollout continues to be ahead of schedule, with over 700 schools connecting since N4L passed the halfway mark in February.
Some of the most recently connected schools include the country’s largest school, Auckland’s Rangitoto College (with more than 3000 students) and New Plymouth’s Puketapu School.
N4L CEO John Hanna says that everyone in the company is driven by a shared vision for our young people to gain the best possible benefits and educational opportunities from technology. He says this shared vision, coupled with the positive response from schools transitioning onto the Managed Network, has enabled the rollout to continue at a steady pace, without compromising on support levels.
“Our team has visited every single one of the 2000 connected schools, ensuring each and every one will be able to get the most from using the Managed Network,” Mr Hanna says.
“Every school is different. Not only do they come in all different sizes, with varied geographies and deciles, but they are also at different stages of their digital learning journey.
“It is essential that the services we provide are customised to support the needs and circumstance of every single school.”
Puketapu School principal Mike Johnson says the school’s 16 teachers and 220 students are looking forward to N4L managing their internet services so that his staff and students can get on with teaching and learning: “We use a lot of online resources such as reading programmes and video music tutorials, which often freeze up when our students try to use them.
“We need a robust infrastructure that works reliably now and also prepares us for the future, where we envisage more online tools being used in the classroom and more students bringing their own devices.”
N4L expects to connect 90 per cent of all schools by the end of this year, with all participating schools being able to connect to the Managed Network by the end of next year.
A number of factors determine when a school is able to get their Managed Network connection, including the availability of the government’s UFB (Ultra Fast Broadband) and RBI (Rural Broadband Initiative).
When the rollout is complete by the end of next year, more than 800,000 users are expected to be using the Managed Network. N4L connected the first school to the Managed Network at the end of 2013.