Chorus is working on a pilot programme with Network for Learning that extends a school’s internet service into student’s homes. The pair are also upgrading school broadband services.

A pilot internet extension at the Haeata Community Campus in Christchurch extends the schools network so it reaches student homes in one of the most deprived areas of the city. The service is free.

The wi-fi network lets students log-in from home using a school-provided device. They get unlimited, safe internet access.

At present it only covers an area near the school, but it will eventually extend across the catchment area. Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie says this will bridge the digital divide that sees some students unable to access the internet from home.

Fibre to the classroom

Chorus and N4L are also working to deliver gigabit broadband direct to every classroom.

At present most schools have a single shared connection distributed using wi-fi access points. This will give each student greater data capacity and speed. It will make it more practical to use bandwidth hungry learning technologies such as high quality video.

A trial will take place in ten schools in the Far North and in parts of rural Gisborne. It’s significant these are in a more remote part of the country.

N4L CEO Greg Woolley says: “Removing speed constraints and simplifying technology in schools, especially for those in rural and isolated areas with little or no ready access to technical support, is an important step along the journey to barrier-free access.