Optus and Curtin University partner to build on-campus 5G lab

It will be used for research, teaching, learning, and collaboration on 5G projects.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

Optus and Curtin University have partnered to build an on-campus 5G lab that will be used for research, teaching, learning, and collaboration on 5G projects.

To be underpinned by the Optus 5G network, the lab will enable remote virtual learning and class trips, and support academic applications of virtual and augmented reality in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and medical training, according to Optus.

"The lab will give us the space to educate and conceptualise the application of the new technology and enable our students and staff to make substantial contributions to the Australian industry and economy," Curtin University vice-chancellor Deborah Terry said.

"Curtin's new smart campus will allow students to learn new digital skills and experience the power of 5G through practical, hands-on applied research while collaborating with industry."

Optus Business product innovation vice president Deon Liebenberg said this is the company's first 5G university collaboration that "will create a hyper-connected campus of the future and allow industry-leading research that has potential world-changing impacts".

Optus made its 5G fixed wireless service generally available at the end of last year and had more than 400 5G sites by the end of the third quarter. It said it was targeting to reach 1,000 sites by March.

See also: 5G expands to 378 cities across 34 countries (TechRepublic)

The partnership builds on the pair's existing partnership, which started back in 2018 when Optus and Curtin University signed a five-year industry-academia partnership to work together on AI.

Under the partnership, Optus and Curtin have been focused on the impact of AI in regional telecommunications, higher education, and the urban environment.

Optus also signed a partnership with James Cook University (JCU) in March. Under a seven-year alliance, Optus and James Cook University will collaborate on Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, such as deploying its narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network on the 700MHz spectrum in Cairns and Townsville, including across JCU's AU$30 million Cairns innovation centre and AU$90 million Townsville technology innovation complex, both of which are currently under construction. 

Additionally, Optus and JCU will establish an IoT solutions group that will see Optus' NB-IoT network and JCU's IoT research centre for academic research come together to deliver new solutions, as well as annually fund the Optus IoT scholarship program to support student and PhD enrolment in IoT and related fields of study.

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