Update to: Facing NZ’s Digital Divide

A Government funding package and a deal between the Ministry of Education and network provider Chorus will bring some relief to disadvantaged students and help close New Zealand’s growing digital divide.

The Government has announced that electronic devices such as computers and modems, and hard copy education packs will be sent out to school students in need as part of an $87 million package.

“It’s now more important than ever that New Zealanders can access the Internet,” says Jordan Carter, InternetNZ chief executive, “and we’re glad to see the Government is taking concrete action to help bridge digital divides in New Zealand.”

And technology companies and internet providers are being urged to do their part in working more collaboratively to help the digitally disadvantaged.

Chorus has struck a deal with the Ministry of Education for 50,000 free broadband connections for students in households that have no broadband connection. It’s expecting to work in conjunction with participating Internet retailers to get services out to those in need.

The Telecommunications Users Association (TUANZ) hopes the connections can be put in place quickly and says there’s a real need for this kind of collaboration to widen across the industry.

“We encourage members of the Telecommunications Forum, and all the service providers to work together as they can within the law, to ensure we remain connected at this time.”

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