Optus has signed a five-year $15 million contract with the NSW Department of Education and Communities to provide satellite services to schools in remote areas, so that they have access to broadband.
The telco will upgrade the satellite technology platform that the schools are using to double the amount of bandwidth available, and increase upload and download speeds by as much as 10 times, it said. However, it would not disclose what speeds the upgrade will achieve.
The upgrade will enable students to use services, such as two-way video conferencing and interactive media applications, Optus said.
The upgrade will service those schools that cannot be covered by fibre under the State Government's connected classrooms program. It will reach 22 schools, six TAFE campuses and 165 homesteads enrolled in the department's distance education program.
"The introduction of the enhanced satellite service will provide our most isolated schools and students with opportunities to connect and collaborate like never before. It will give them a chance to share in the educational benefits of contemporary web-based tools, and give us a chance to close the gap that currently exists between the city and the bush," NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said.
Optus has been working with the NSW Government to deliver interactive distance learning for 10 years, he said.