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Optus chosen to supply cutting edge technology for regional education
22 Jul 2002

The Federal Government announced today that Optus has been chosen to establish state-of-the-art communications systems to regional and remote students in NSW and Northern Territory.

The venture is a result of Optus' successful bid to receive National Communications Funding from the Federal Government to establish shared broadband interactive distance learning (IDL) communications infrastructure.

Optus, in collaboration with the NSW Department of Education and Training and the Northern Territory Department of Employment, Education and Training, will establish IDL infrastructure for small rural communities and isolated homesteads in the Clarence, Murray-Darling and Dubbo areas of NSW and the whole of the Northern Territory.

The new system will deliver education services to approximately 3,700 users in 547 sites including School of the Air and distance education students, isolated indigenous communities, TAFE outreach students and adults seeking vocational education.

"Students will be able to fully interact with their teacher and, for the first time, they will be able to see demonstrations in real-time," said Paul Fletcher, Optus' Director of Corporate & Regulatory Affairs. "The technology will also help break down the geographical barriers and allow indigenous communities in both states to come together."

The technology includes real-time streaming video, high-resolution graphics, full duplex audio, two-way data interaction and application sharing capabilities.

School courses offered will cover primary, secondary and vocational, including those that are currently difficult to offer in remote and rural settings, such as courses in small business skills. TAFE programmes will be specific to each local community and a number of courses will be offered for indigenous education.

"Today's decision reflects Optus' capabilities as Australia's leading provider of satellite communications - a technology ideally suited to rural and remote Australia," Mr Fletcher said.

"This decision shows the best communications solutions for rural and regional Australia will frequently come from competitive players rather than the majority Government-owned incumbent."

For more information:
Luisa Ford
Optus Corporate Affairs
Phone: +61 2 9342 7850
Mobile: 0411 024 104