31 Oct 2011
By John Gibbs

NSW schools lead the way


In my mind, technology, telecommunications and learning have always gone hand-in-hand – from watching the moon landing on a black and white TV set during my school days, to the broadband capabilities we have available to us today.

Viewing NASA’s moon landing was only made possible due to a joint partnership between the Overseas Telecommunications Commission and the PMG.

Another important partnership, this time between the NSW Government and Telstra, now finds NSW schools leading the way in broadband education.

Nearly three years ago the Minister for Education and Training, Verity Firth, announced the signing of an agreement between Telstra and the NSW Government to revolutionise the delivery of digital education to all public schools and TAFE institutes.

Now the broadband system, enabled by Telstra’s Network Construction’s corporate project team, has increased computer speeds for many schools by up to an astronomical 20 times.  Overall, this project has benefitted more than 1.2 million NSW students in 2400 schools and TAFEs.

What was to be a four year project has been wrapped up by the team in just under three years with the last service activated at the Bournda Environmental Education Centre (EEC) on 7 September 2011.

A video link was established on the day with the EEC Principal Doug Reckord and I recall how excited our senior contract specialist was when this centre was activated. It was Sonia Noonan’s first ever customer activation and she said that being there to witness the smile of appreciation on our customer’s face was out of this world.

Principal Reckord and EEC’s Administrative Manager Jan Lynch have emailed the team and commended both Telstra and their project partners Visionstream on their efforts.

NSW Department of Education & Training (DET) project

More than 2400 DET sites have been connected by over 4500 kilometres of optic fibre to Government Wideband Internet Protocol (GWIP) Services with bandwidths ranging from 4-200Mbps.

Sites upgraded include a large number of schools and Environmental Education Centres in metro, rural and remote areas of NSW.  Some of the schools were also connected via Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy (PDH)/ Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) and Ethernet radio systems.

This work has boosted classroom technology allowing the incorporation of cutting edge interactive whiteboards and video-conferencing capability between schools.

Telstra’s Corporate Project team, who project managed the NSW DET network roll out, were recently recognised by the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM NSW Chapter’s Project Management Achievement Awards) winning a state award in the category of ‘Telecommunications Technology’.

NSW schools lead the way

Photo: Pictured at the Bournda Environmental Education Centre after completing the final job are: (Back left) Telstra’s Alan Beattie and Paul Buchanan with Bournda EEC’s Jan Lynch and Telstra’s Sonia Noonan. (Back) Visionstream’s David Oxley, Adam Walsh, Greg Evans and David Pizzimenti. (Front) Telstra’s Terry Turner with Herini Terita.

The moon walk was over 40 years ago now and hasn’t technology gone ahead in leaps and bounds. Over that time, or in your lifetime, what is the biggest change to technology you have witnessed?


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