NSW Education inks $280m Telstra deal

NSW Minister for Education, Verity Firth, today said that the government had signed on Telstra to bring fast broadband to over 1.2 million students.

NSW Minister for Education, Verity Firth, today said that the government had signed on Telstra to bring fast broadband to over 1.2 million students.

(Credit: Alex Serpo/ZDNet.com.au)

The $280 million contract will run for four years and span 2400 sites, according to Firth.

"Telstra says the network will be the largest in Australia and one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere," she said in a statement.

Over 4500 kilometres of fibre will be rolled out, creating 150 jobs, according to Firth. The roll-out starts now and will continue until September, a Telstra spokesperson said. Speeds will range from 4Mbps to 100Mbps, depending on the needs of the school.

"A flexible system means bandwidth provided to schools can be increased or decreased to meet temporary spikes in demand as well as growth of declines in the student population," Firth said.

Victoria made the move to fast broadband for schools last year, with all sites undergoing a Telstra led upgrade from 4Mbps to 10Mbps, funded through the government's $89.3 million VicSmart Initiative.

Catholic schools also agreed in July to pay the telco $146 million to connect 1550 schools.

Firth said that the investment added onto NSW's investment in connected classrooms; $66 million to install interactive whiteboards and video-conferencing facilities in all NSW schools by 2011, and $29 million for all students to have their own secure online workspace for receiving and handing in homework.

The Federal Government also spent $2.1 billion on its Digital Education Revolution, bringing a computer to each year nine to 12 student.