Amen! Please do this in Canada, ASAP.
I have used gigabit/s on LANs and between universities. It is amazing how productive one can become when multiple computers and storage units act as if they were under your keyboard. The idea of needing a hard drive in every computer becomes less relevant as the network is about as fast as the typical hard drive in a PC. Powerful machines can benefit from RAID/SCSI and do better but the typical COTS (Consumer Off The Shelf) PC gains little by having a hard drive except for the storage. Indeed, if a big server has stuff cached, serving files over the network without seeks will be faster. Even my present school with old CAT-5 can run gigabit/s. Some new schools will have CAT-6 and many have optical fibre in the backbone of the LAN. Reaching out onto the web with gigabit/s makes everything easier. Cloud computing, thin clients, backups, file serving, authentication, secure connections, … everything becomes faster and more feasible.
see The Age
Canada is a sparsely populated country. 75% of the population is in cities, mostly in the south. The north where I work has tiny communities 50 miles or more apart. Many have connection to the power grid. It would be great to have a fast network connection too. Now we use satellites with huge propagation delays to and from satellites thousands of miles away. A few hundred miles of cable would be a wonderful improvement both in reliability and speed. It will happen eventually. We can afford roads and power-lines. We can also afford networks that can keep up with us.
Yesterday, I spoke with a principal of a school that will soon get a new building. My advice was to be sure that a good network and IT infrastructure was part of the plan from day one. We need this stuff almost as much as we need water, air and heat these days. Gigabit/s costs very little more than 100 megabits/s and is a lot more fun.