Massive bandwidth boost for WA public schools

Massive bandwidth boost for WA public schools
Massive bandwidth boost for WA public schools

Western Australian Government schools will receive significant bandwidth increases from early 2021 to meet the growing demand for students to access online learning materials.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery announced today that the Department of Education had signed a $130 million extension to its telecommunications contract with Telstra.

This will deliver the benefits of high-speed fibre and internet access to 350,000 students, teachers and other school staff across WA.

The base bandwidth for every student and staff member will increase from 100 kBps to an average of 2 Mbps.

When complete, schools that currently have limited bandwidth will be able to run simultaneous online learning and activities in a number of classrooms without ‘lag’.

At no additional cost to the Department of Education, under the agreement Telstra will invest approximately $30 million to upgrade local exchanges and backhaul capacity – particularly in regional towns – which will benefit the entire local community and other government agencies.

The Department of Education will continue to work towards improving the telecommunications services in 23 very remote schools that are still reliant on satellite-based services.

Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:

“Student demand to access learning materials online has more than doubled over the past 18 months.

“This agreement means more than 97 per cent of public schools will receive an average bandwidth increase of more than 20 times, with many receiving much higher increases.

“It will provide modern and immersive learning opportunities for students, and bring equity in bandwidth between metropolitan and regional schools and their communities.”

Perth, 11 December 2020