Almost every government school in the state will have a high-speed, fibre optic internet connection by mid-2020 under a landmark contract between the Marshall Liberal Government and Telstra worth more than $80 million.
The massive expansion of the fibre optic network will deliver speeds of up to and beyond 1GB to 514 schools sites – 98.8% of all public schools.
Once the project is completed, it is estimated that some schools could experience internet speeds up to 1000% faster than before.
The move will see thousands of kilometres of fibre optic cables installed right across South Australia and past the front doors of thousands of small businesses, public sector agencies, hospitals and independent schools, making high speed internet connection a viable reality in almost every town in South Australia.
Premier Steven Marshall said the project will deliver for all South Australian students.
“Fast, reliable internet connection is critical in the modern world, and our students will now benefit from this landmark network expansion that will help deliver a world class education system,” said Premier Marshall.
“When the last bit of fibre optic cable is in place every public school student, from Yalata to Bordertown, will have access to the world.
“The expanded fibre optic network will not only provide high speed internet to our public schools, it also puts a fibre optic connection within reach of thousands of small businesses, public agencies and independent schools.”
Education Minister John Gardner said the educational opportunities resulting from the project are immense.
“Today’s announcement is a major building block for our aim to deliver the best education system in Australia,” said Minister Gardner.
“Our young people will be able to tap into a wealth of learning resources that would otherwise be beyond their reach, with opportunities to connect and collaborate with contemporaries, learning institutions and businesses from across the country and around the globe.
“It will also give principals and teachers more seamless access to Education Department support such as curriculum resources and professional development, helping to deliver the Government’s ambition to make South Australia’s education system the best in the country.
“Today’s announcement also signals the delivery of another Marshall Liberal Government election commitment.”
Telstra Enterprise's Chief Customer Officer, John Ieraci said Telstra is proud to be working in partnership with the Government to help deliver a new era of learning for South Australian children and teachers.
“Demand for connectivity is growing exponentially around the world which makes high speed data access for the students of South Australia so incredibly important - not only for the classroom experience of the students of today, but ultimately the future competitiveness of the state," said Mr Ieraci.
"We are excited to help level the technological playing field for public school students in regional and remote locations as well as open the doors for new ways of learning.
“It will now be possible for almost every public school student across the state to have access to educational collaboration tools as well as emerging virtual and augmented reality solutions.
“We congratulate the South Australian Government for investing in the future of the State and its children.”
It is expected that the network expansion will be completed by the middle of 2020.
The Education Department is working with Telstra to provide alternative fast internet solutions to the four schools too remote to connect to the expanded fibre optic network.