Tasmania reaches NBN breakthrough for schools

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Tasmania reaches NBN breakthrough for schools

Whole-of-government contract maintained.

Aurora Energy will begin providing National Broadband Network services to public schools in the next six weeks after a breakthrough in negotiations with the State Government.

At least four government primary and high schools in the NBN-connected areas of Smithton and Scottsdale would now receive access to the fibre network.

The agreement struck between Aurora, the State Government and NBN Co over the weekend overcame contractual and security concerns that had kept public schools in the state off the NBN to date.

Telstra would provide security measures including content filtering and support for internal government systems.

State education minister Nick McKim had come under fire after revealing no public schools in Tasmania had received access to the NBN as of June.

His department blamed a whole-of-government contract, Networking Tasmania II, for the lack of NBN connections to public schools.

The contract mandated state departments and institutions procure services through Telstra, Aurora Energy or BBW.

"The Government’s other Networking Tasmania II suppliers (BBW Telecom and Telstra) are also free to offer NBN-based services for consideration by the Government," a spokesman for McKim's office said.

The new agreement paved the way for education institutions in seven second-release NBN sites to also receive NBN connections.

McKim said the State Government would use the NBN to boost access to its $11 million Connected - Any School, Any Student program.

The program aggregated knowledge and course information across the state's government, Catholic and independent school systems for access online by parents and teachers.

Until now, the privately-run Circular Head Christian School in Smithton had been used by the federal and state governments and by NBN Co as an example of the NBN's use in schools.

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