Fibre to the gate is only half the story. How about affordable high-speed Internet?

Access to the Internet appears to be one of the key sticking points for those students who are based in the lowest socio-economic communities. While this factor seems to be pretty logical, maybe it is less obvious that low decile schools and/or small rural schools would also struggle to access affordable high-speed Internet. Rachel Roberts comments “I know there are lots of issues around equity and access for RBI though I had never considered decile rating to be part of the digital divide …”, and shares Cost bar keeps fibre dream out of classrooms(written by Kirsty Johnston).

English: Internet Penetration (% Population). ...

Internet Penetration (% Population). Red indicates no statistics available. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)A couple of highlights from Kirsty’s post include:

Schools in underprivileged areas are struggling to benefit from the Government’s ultra-fast broadband scheme, with high prices and unfair distribution creating a rich and poor “digital divide”, Labour says.

Figures show the scheme remains behind schedule, with 176 schools connected to the fibre but only eight actually using the high-speed internet

Figures show there was a relatively even split between schools in rich and poor areas getting high-speed internet access. For example, there were about 45 decile one schools in the rollout so far, and 58 decile 10 schools. Wall said decile 1-3 schools should have been a priority. “Strategically, they are depriving children who live in communities like mine. The parents of my kids are more worried about putting bread and butter on the table than having internet.” (source)

So – what’s the solution? What have your experiences been? Ideas or solutions?

About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ ( I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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