Telstra, Catholic schools build $146m broadband network

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More than 1550 Catholic schools and Catholic education offices around Australia will be connected to Telstra’s network infrastructure following a two-year, $146 million broadband project announced today.

The “National broadband network for Catholic schools” project is the first of its type for any school sector in Australia, according to Telstra.

The predominantly fibre-based network will connect five data centres across Australia and use Telstra Internet Direct, which provides carrier-grade connectivity.

Management of the network will be handled through a range of VPNs and gateway exchanges, enabling Catholic education offices to share and exchange resources.

A new organisation, Catholic Network Australia Limited Ltd (CNA), chaired by Francis Moore, will run the network.

CNA board member and director of catholic education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Stephen Elder, said the plan is for CNA to provide a single network for all Australian Catholic agencies and parishes, with increased flexibility than existing network service contracts.

“This is an historic agreement between Telstra and the Catholic sector which will benefit students in Catholic schools across Australia,” Elder said, adding the network was one of the most exciting developments in education for a long time.

Anticipated benefits of using a new network include reduced costs for individual Catholic networks and agencies; bringing Catholic schools to the forefront of ICT provision and capacity in education; assisting agencies to respond to government accountability requirements; and easier creation of online learning communities.

Telstra CEO David Thodey said broadband has become a critical tool that helps break down the geographical and social barriers and connects students to each other and the world.

“Together with CNA, Telstra will provide Catholic schools across Australia with the broadband services necessary to access education resources critical to a first rate contemporary learning environment,” Thodey said.

So far more than 90 per cent of all Catholic education sites in Australia have committed to the new network.

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Tags broadbandTelstraNetworkingschoolsCatholic Education OfficeCatholic Network Australia

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Rodney Gedda

Computerworld
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