NT schools and health services get $4.5 million broadband boost

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NT schools and health services get $4.5 million broadband boost

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, has announced funding of $4.5 million for a new satellite–based network to provide broadband services for education and health services in remote communities in the Northern Territory.

The new SkyConnect network will aim to redress the broadband deficiencies suffered by communities and homesteads across the Territory which lack effective terrestrial connections.

The broadband services will be rolled out to 54 schools, 24 health clinics, 16 Charles Darwin University vocational education centres and 160 School of the Air sites.

Coonan said the project also includes the establishment of a new interactive distance learning laboratory at Charles Darwin University’s Alice Springs campus.

“SkyConnect will allow teachers, students and parents to engage more effectively and extensively in collaborative virtual classrooms,” Coonan said. “The new generation satellite technology will allow teachers to see their students and their work online for the first time.

Senator Coonan said SkyConnect will also support Schools without Borders, where expert teachers will deliver specialist secondary subjects to students in small, remote schools.

Health services will also benefit from the roll out, enabling workers with access to clinical information systems, knowledge based resources and online training and information support services.

The Northern Territory’s Department of Employment, Education and Training will head a consortium including the Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services and Charles Darwin University, who will together contribute $7.6 million to the SkyConnect project.

Clever Networks is a $113 million Australian Government program that aims to improve delivery of services in regional, rural and remote Australia through broadband projects.
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