The Commerce Commission has today released the second of three issues papers relating to the uptake of high speed broadband ahead of a public conference in February 2012. The paper is in two parts and examines the potential demand for high speed broadband from the education and health sectors
I was one of those interviewed for the education paper by the author, Ernie Newman, and am impressed with what he's done to bring together a broad range of perspectives and thinking to deliver a concise and clear view for a way forward.
Key conclusions reached in the education paper include:
Already there is very significant pent-up demand emeroging for connectivity in schools because of the practice of students taking their own digital device to school, and wanting to have it on-line all day. This practice will increase rapidly now that state schools are starting to join private schools in requiring students to bring such a device, and/or helping them to source one.
Alongside the above trend, the use of multimedia as a core educational tool continues to burgeon.
Just as people in business have found the boundary between work and leisure has become blurred over recent years, so too have modern students blurred the boundary between study and leisure. That means that study has become an activity spread across the full 24/7 time period. In turn it means the students expect connectivity at home and other places they go that is at least as good as they get at school. It follows that better school connectivity will drive residential demand also.
New Zealand teachers are generally becoming as well qualified as those in comparable countries for the era of e-learning. A great deal has been done over the past decade to up skill them, and most have been willing to leave their comfort zones and embrace it as learners. The same is not being said about the teacher training institutions, which are seen as behind the times and missing the opportunity to position themselves as thought leaders in this field.
School networks need to be reconsidered in the light of a trend toward cloud computing. Much of the infrastructure of yesterday will still be required to enable multimedia work, but servers will be less in demand and there will be greatly increased demand for Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the school with significant numbers of students on-line simultaneously including a great deal of video content.
There are 760,000 students in New Zealand’s primary and secondary schools. The emerging expectation that a high proportion will be on-line at once, including use of bandwidth- hungry video, at school during the day and at home after that, means there is enormous potential demand for fast broadband. The speed of uptake and amount of demand will depend on how well the telecommunications industry enables, markets and prices the services.
This paper will be among the issues discussed at the upcoming Opportunities for New Zealand conference being held in Auckland on 20-21 February, where the focus will be on the future with high speed broadband.
Download the paper here (PDF download, scroll through page 24 to find the education paper)