The QLD government has announced a high-speed game changer for state schools and their communities, investing $190 million to make internet speeds 200 times faster.
The partnership with Telstra will also include $110 million spent on exchange upgrades, aiming to benefit communities and businesses in hundreds of regional and remote areas. Work is already underway, with upgrades being rolled out from the start of term two.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the deal was a win win for state schools and their communities; “We know how important the internet has become in our modern society, from our workplaces to our homes and in our schools for our children’s education and futures,” the Premier said.
“This investment will mean internet speeds across every single one of our 1258 state schools will be 200 times faster as well as faster speeds for their communities. This will ensure teachers and students have access to the latest digital technologies and tools for their classrooms: everything they need for a world-class education.” the Premier said.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the first phase of the contract would increase average internet speeds 40 times to all schools by the end of next year, and 200 times by 2026.
“Around 40 schools will be connected to fibre optic for the first time, and our more isolated communities will not be left behind. Newer technologies like Next Generation Satellites will be used to deliver faster internet where terrestrial options are less practical,” Minister Grace said.
“Telstra’s upgrades to hundreds of exchanges also means the flow on benefits for communities and businesses will be huge. This partnership will also see Telstra invest $110 million to upgrade hundreds of exchanges across Queensland. Around 350 have already been identified and there will be more added as the work progresses. This will mean access to better, faster internet for communities and businesses – not just for our state schools – in these locations right across the state.” Minister Grace said.
“For example, hospitality businesses will have access to reliable online and automated booking systems, increase their online marketing, and improve visitor experiences. There will be new capabilities for regional and remote healthcare that have previously been out of reach due to bandwidth limitations, including cloud-based service delivery, tele-health, access to online education and the provision of real-time diagnostics. Agriculture producers will have further opportunities to automate their production through real time sensing and weather prediction, as well access to new technologies to make their supply chains more efficient.” Minister Grace continued.
Telstra Enterprise Chief Customer Officer ,John Ieraci said the project would deliver world-class connectivity and education opportunities to Queensland students and local communities.
“We know that digital inclusion for school kids is one of the most important drivers when it comes to positive education outcomes,” Mr Ieraci said.
“As a result of these upgrades, students from even the most remote parts of Queensland will have access to quality, high speed connectivity, and will get to enjoy all the opportunities that come with it.”
Minister Grace said the partnership also allowed for the introduction of technologies that don’t yet exist.
“While we are securing the best technology currently available from Telstra, we have future proofed this deal too: as new technologies emerge that can provide an even better service, we can incorporate these into the contract.”