Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story..:-)
Douglas Harre here.....:-)
A few observations
a) the Interface front page story is incorrect re the $150m and I have spoken to them about that (not for the first time). The $150m is not being spent over 3 years, but over 6-7 (depends on how the Minister of Finance wants to apportion it - which is what Ministers of Finance do). The $34m was announced on Feb 11 as part of the $480m stimulus package announcded by the PM. It becomes available to the MoE on July 1 as that's the start of the new FY.
b) The funding is being provided by the govt. "to make schools ready for ultra-fast broadband". That is, its tied into the government's $$1.5Billion fibre-based broadband rollout that is projected to begin in ealry 2010. Being as how the role of the public service is to implement the policies of the governemnt of the day - that's what we are doing - getting schools prepared. So what assistance do you need?
Beehive - School broadband given boost in Budget
c) Starting from the bottom up - Early riser - the sequence for rolllout of fibre has not been decided (I assume you are keeping up with all that in the media or on the MED website) , so neither has ours. It is likely that schools that are involved in other MoE projects may be prioritsed - ie. those that support the new govts. other current education priorities. As with the previous project (more about that below) it is unlikely we will be handing that money direct to schools - this will be like TELA or MS software - overseen by the MoE and carried out by local people).
d) SYNACK - not quite sure why you see this as "a bad joke". The MoE and the 480 schools we have just completed from Stewart Island, the Chathams, Gt Barrier Island right up through NZ to the tip of Northland think its fantastic.
The survey was carried out across all schools in the second half of 2004 - five years ago. Every school was rated from 0 to 5 (zero being no network and 5 being excellent). We had over 500 schools with no networks (not poor networks, but none). Most of these were smaller rural primary schools with little access to expertse or the levels of funding required to install a professionl-grade network. That rollout was also designed to fit in with Project PROBE - a $48m investment in rural broadband that was completed in Sept 2005. The survey was used to prioritise all schools in NZ for upgrades. As we only had $16m to spend we had to do schools in some order. Before we started we looked at similar projects in the USA/Aust and Canada. Advice from all our colleagues in those countries was to do schools with nothing rather than trying to fix existing school networks. So thats what we did..:-)
The funding model was NOT "full funding" as you say in your post. We offered schools a network upgrade and we paid a % based on their rollsize. Schools with less than 77 pupils we paid 80%. 78-180 - 75% and over 181 - 50% (rolls sizes are quartiles for NZ schools). Schools were invited - many (about 180) turned it down, so concerns about upgrades for technology averse schools werent really a problem as they obviously had no need for what we were offering (8 data outlets per class/16 power outlets/switching/server etc).....interestingly takeup rates at the 50% level were as high as those at 80%. Schools who wanted it took it up, those who didn't - didn't.
We completed around 480 schools by the time the funding ran out in mid 08. The new govt has provided new funding and have offered a funding level back at the 80% subsidy rate which is very good (well I think it is but YMMV).
I also look after all the local loops (fromn the MOE viewpoint) so can give you additional info on that if you want. Have done presentations to Chch/Auckland/Wellingotn/Hamilton schools/principals in the last month on that very topic. Sixty people in Wellingotn last week and Napier later in July. There's a lot of interest out there about all this - especially about the National Education trial we have been running since last year. I would suggest that schools who think that they are going to be getting local loop funding have not been reading the papers...:-)
e) Early riser - back to you - interested in your statement that you got a new network but no server? As you know we offered a server with every network so whats up there? Did they already have one?
Contrary to what you have said - this IS a completely new round of funding. We have a new government...:-)). This is all NEW capital money to support the new fibre rollout. As such this funding is aimed at those schools that are in the govts target group for the ultrafast broadband rollout (which i assume you are familair with). So it is not a continuation of the group that you referred to.
f) So DID you call me and find out whats happening?:):)
g) if you tell me what schools you are at I can let you know if you are likely to be getting assistance...:-)