School fibre set-up costs to be met by Crown
Education Minister Anne Tolley and Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce have announced that the government is to cover the costs associated with providing the physical fibre from the street to school buildings, enabling schools to connect to the ultra-fast broadband network.
Previously, schools connecting to fibre have been required to contribute to this “fibre drop” cost, which in some cases has amounted to thousands of dollars.
“Government’s decision to cover these costs is an important step in ensuring equitable access to the benefits of ultra-fast broadband,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Schools that are already on ultra-fast broadband have tended to be larger urban schools that could afford to pay their share of the fibre drop cost.”
Steven Joyce says the move, which comes as part of the national rollout, levels the playing field.
“Some schools, particularly smaller schools in rural areas, may have a disproportionately high drop cost compared to the number of pupils and their funding – we want to make sure they aren’t disadvantaged.
“The Government wants New Zealand schools to be among the most connected in the world and this represents yet another milestone in achieving this.”
The government is committed to rolling out ultra-fast broadband to 97% of schools within six years – negotiations with partners are underway currently. The remaining 3% of schools will be covered by the Remote Schools Broadband Initiative and will receive faster broadband (10Mbps or more) via point to point wireless or satellite technology. More information on which schools will be included in this is expected to be available early in the New Year.