More than 758,000 students and teachers across 2346 of New Zealand schools are using N4L’s Managed Network for their teaching and learning, which is today recognised as the top ICT-enabled Community Initiative at the inaugural CIO100 Awards.

The award was presented by IDG Communications, publishers of CIO magazine, to recognise an organisation delivering an initiative that helps address a community or social issue.

The government-funded Managed Network continues to to run at least a year ahead of schedule and within budget, and is now providing more than 16% of the country’s population with fast, uncapped internet running at predictable speeds, as well as web filtering and network security services.

February was a record-breaking month for data consumption in schools, with nearly 800 terabytes consumed. This includes 557,000 minutes of streaming video, or a little more than a year’s worth of video. In the same month, N4L blocked 68 million security threats, including viruses, malware, adware and spyware applications. Despite the extra ‘leap year’ day in February, most schools would have been open an average of 18 days.

N4L Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Nees says he expects the upward trend of school’s internet use to continue: “Today we are presented with an award recognising the impact on the community we serve, helping schools to digitally empower their education and ensuring every student has a seamless online experience no matter where they go to school in New Zealand.

“The way this community is using the internet for learning is evolving and expanding. Schools are using  more online applications and tools for their learning via an increasing number of devices, with many schools introducing BYOD programmes and new ways of learning that demand more bandwidth.”

Mr Nees says the company is keeping ahead of the demand curve by building new capability into the network, and ensuring schools have more than enough internet to meet their needs, and have access to tools like web filtering to keep their environments safe for students.

N4L services the highest concentration of internet users in the country, with some colleges boasting 3,000-plus users in one location, with few NZ companies boasting that many users in one site.

A November survey among schools using the Managed Network indicates 94% feel more confident implementing their digital strategy as a result of being connected, with 71% having increased their use of digital technology within the first six months of connecting.

Last year N4L won an Australia New Zealand Internet Award (ANZIA) for the Managed Network and was a finalist for the Hi-Tech Public Sector Award.

Research conducted prior to building the Managed Network suggests that its design does not exist within any other sector of New Zealand, and the implementation process may be a world-first.

The following chart illustrates the growing use of the Managed Network in schools:

N4L Graph Amends

About N4L

N4L (Network for Learning) is a Crown company formed to provide all New Zealand students and teachers equitable access to high quality networks, technology platforms and services for learning. The aim is to support improved educational outcomes, and equity of opportunity for all New Zealand children, which in turn will contribute to the country’s economic performance. The company is achieving this by building a Managed Network especially designed for schools, an online learning community for New Zealand teachers called Pond, and other platforms designed to improve schools’ access to content and applications for learning.