Christchurch fibre broadband network provider, Enable, has offered to provide a free wholesale fibre broadband service into every home it can where there is a school student currently unable to access the internet.
“We are ready to liven up every existing fibre broadband connection we have into these homes – so we can play our role in ensuring as many students as possible have an equal opportunity to learn through the COVID-19 epidemic,” said Enable CEO, Steve Fuller.
The free wholesale fibre broadband service would be made available to families that the Ministry of Education identifies as needing broadband where Enable already has existing infrastructure inside the home. Enable estimates it has up to 2,000 existing fibre connections currently not being used that may benefit a school student or several in one home.
“I can only imagine how isolated some children are feeling when they can’t connect to their school community or their friends and we want to help as many of them as we can,” said Mr Fuller.
The service Enable will provide is a 200Mbps download and 20Mbps upload speed service – one of its higher end fibre broadband services. The service will be free for six months provided the connection is in place before 31 May 2020.
“We want to offer a really good quality fibre broadband experience to eligible students to ensure that their broadband service will not be a barrier to them taking advantage of every learning opportunity – including joining teacher-led video conferencing sessions, developing and uploading content, and collaborating with classmates in real time,” added Mr Fuller.
Once the Ministry of Education has finalised the list of eligible homes and families, Enable will work with internet service providers to get the students connected as soon as possible – ideally in time for the commencement of term two.
“As a wholesale service provider, Enable can’t deliver the whole solution directly – so we’re looking to the internet service providers to work with us and the Ministry of Education to move quickly to get these connections up and running. We have the resources ready to do this,” said Mr Fuller.
“As an organisation that is entirely focussed on and owned by the Christchurch community, we’re very pleased to be able to support even more of our community, through this initiative, to make the very best of this difficult situation.”