New Zealand researchers need very fast broadband in order to transfer large amounts of data at high speeds to each other and to people overseas.
The Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network (KAREN, now REANNZ) can transmit data at speeds 1,000 times faster than current broadband. Through video streaming of high-resolution images and sound, REANNZ gives New Zealand researchers remote access to experiments involving large, high-cost facilities. For example, New Zealand geologists and geophysicists instantly receive data from faultlines around the world. Its members are the tertiary education institutions, Crown research institutes and the National Library.
ICT in remote communities
ICT has the potential to transform the future of some small and isolated communities. People living in Westport on the South Island’s West Coast can electronically consult a doctor in Greymouth, about 100 kilometres south. ICT combined with diagnostic equipment – to measure blood pressure, temperature and pulse rate – means doctors can provide after-hours emergency care, surgical assessments and scheduled outpatient clinics.
Back to the future
In the early 2000s the Māori tribe Tūhoe developed its own digital strategy to offer everyone in its remote, mountainous tribal area access to wireless broadband internet. The tribe developed the strategy in line with tribal custom to ensure that ICT supports and extends Tūhoe’s cultural heritage.
Many Māori tribal areas are in remote and far-flung locations. The internet plays an important role in tribal communication.
Te Whānau-ā-Apanui tribe’s traditional land is strung along the coast in the Bay of Plenty. The tribe is offering all its high-school students training and qualifications in ICT to help the members of the tribe keep in touch, and to give young people more career choices.