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Education Leaders Want Action On Broadband

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

PRESS RELEASE New Zealand's broadband capability is below today's application threshold according to a recent study of the global state of broadband which puts New Zealand 37th out of 66 countries in terms of the quality and reach of its networks. CORE Education's director of e-learning Derek Wenmoth said the statistics were alarming and gave further evidence why the Government needed to push ahead with its rural broadband plan. "Our main centres are becoming better served but our rural areas are certainly lagging behind," Mr Wenmoth said. The Government released its rural broadband discussion document this week with submissions closing at the end of the month. CORE Education will host one of the largest Information Communication and Technology (ICT) educational conferences in New Zealand next week in Christchurch. Education Minister Anne Tolley will speak at ULearn on Wednesday (October 7) where the topic of access to high speed broadband is expected to be on the agenda. A study released this week by the Oxford Business School focusing on download and upload speeds ranked New Zealand 37th in the world out of the countries tested. This put New Zealand below today's application threshold. "The report (from the Oxford Business School) provides ample evidence as to why it is important that the government progresses its rural broadband plan," Mr Wenmoth said. "Distributed access to a high speed broadband network is vital for New Zealand's ability to participate in a global marketplace, for the sharing of knowledge, and in the production of goods and services into the future." "This issue is sure to be discussed at ULearn as it has huge implications for the education sector," Mr Wenmoth said. ULearn09 is an educational conference focusing on innovative teaching and learning for the 21st century that attracts about 2000 delegates and features 400 national and international speakers. Delegates range from early childhood to tertiary educators. Speakers chosen for ULearn are top thought leaders in their field many of them pioneers in ICT. A feature of the ULearn conference is the provision of a wireless 'blanket' across the seven venues used, providing delegates with access to a broadband network operating at 10Gb speeds, providing them with a taste of what will be possible when such a network is implemented through the country. ULearn's high speed network will be used to stream parts of the conference by video to other parts of the country, including a group of teachers who will be participating from Gisborne. "The ULearn conference is New Zealand's largest conference for educators, and provides a venue to demonstrate what is possible as we look to the future of schools and education for our young people," Mr Wenmoth said.

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