REGINA – Internet speeds at some schools across the province is about to get better after the government announced the completion of the upgraded CommunityNet.
About 500 schools around Saskatchewan will benefit from CommunityNet, which is a dedicated wide-area network that connects executive government, health and education job sites to the internet.
SaskTel will be investing more than $5 million over the next four years to upgrade the network and the Ministry of Education will be providing an additional $2 million for operating costs and to ensure students receive faster internet access.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the completion of significant upgrades to CommunityNet that will provide students and teachers across the province with access to the digital tools they need to succeed,” Education Minister Don Morgan said.
“This is the most significant increase in bandwidth access for students since the program’s inception in 2001 and the upgrade provides more than double the speeds at most schools and in some cases up to ten times the speed.”
“SaskTel understands the importance of providing the networks and technology that deliver the bandwidth required for schools to capitalize on online resources,” Minister responsible for SaskTel Don McMorris said.
“In addition to this initial investment, SaskTel and the Ministry of Education have also begun consulting with school divisions to determine growing bandwidth needs in the long-term.”
Feedback from the schools has been positive since CommunityNet has been linked up.
“The CommunityNet project represents an important step for rural education in Saskatchewan,” École White City School Principal Mike Embury said. “In many classrooms, education has become an innovative and collaborative endeavour, and through this ten-fold increase to Internet access, our teachers and students are better able to engage in 21st Century learning.”
“In March, with bandwidth increased from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps, there was a noticeable difference in our ability to use the Internet for research for Science Fair, Heritage Fair and Oratoricals,” École White City School Grade 8 student Jayden Lindholm said.
“We are able to upload and download our files and pictures for projects and assignments. Teachers have been able to use streaming video to make their lessons better.”