About Optus
Careers Legal & Regulatory Sponsorship Media Centre Corporate Responsibility Network CoverageSingTel & Optus
Education goes the distance with Optus
23 May 2003

Optus, along with the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, and the Northern Territory and New South Wales Governments, today launched the latest satellite technology to benefit regional and remote students in the NT and NSW.

The $17 million project brings interactive distance learning services to approximately 3,700 users in 547 remote sites in the NT and NSW as part of the Commonwealth Government’s National Communications Fund.

The initiative has created a world of colour for even the most isolated students. Kindergarten students can see their teachers and see pictures to aid in the learning process; TAFE outreach students are attending small business courses online; and indigenous children are learning all about computers with tangible visual aids.

These are just a few of the highlights for School of the Air students, distance education students, isolated indigenous communities, TAFE outreach students and adults undertaking vocational education thanks to the interactive distance learning (IDL) communications infrastructure installed by Optus.

Senator Alston said that Optus' capabilities as Australia's leading provider of satellite communications made it the ideal carrier to manage and implement the project.

"Students no longer need to rely on 50-year old two-way radio - they can now see their teacher every lesson using the video broadcast component of Optus SatLearn technology," Senator Alston said.

Peter Kaliaropoulos, Managing Director of Optus Business, said the new technology empowers teachers to interact with students.

"Teachers can now demonstrate concepts, conduct ongoing assessments and screen images or video presentations live on camera or via a range of technologies including video and DVD.

"If NSW teachers and students have home or farming duties that prevent them from attending a lesson, it can be reviewed using the 'on demand' feature of Optus SatLearn. This allows users to retrieve a recording of a full lesson conducted at an earlier time or date.

"Optus SatLearn highlights how competition can bring better services and new choices to people in the bush," Mr Kaliaropoulos said.

Optus has established interactive distance learning infrastructure for small rural communities and homesteads in Alice Springs, Darwin, the North Coast of NSW, Murray-Darling and Dubbo areas.

Optus has also built satellite-teaching studios at Alice Springs, Darwin, Port Macquarie, Broken Hill and Dubbo to service these areas. Each site is linked terrestrially to the Optus Earth Station in Sydney.

Note to Editors:
The Interactive Distance Learning initiative is part of the Commonwealth Government's National Communications Funding and is in collaboration with the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) and the NT Department of Education, Employment and Training (DEET).

Media contact:
Luisa Ford
Optus Corporate Affairs
Phone: +61 2 9342 5045