SYDNEY, Australia, March 30, 2009 – Cisco and Telstra have come together to help develop education and Internet-based communication in northern Australia by deploying a wireless broadband network and Cisco® Unified Communications at Djarragun, an indigenous school in far north Queensland.
The aim of the deployment is to enable the network to become the platform for education at Djarragun and to create linkages for students where there has been only basic phone connectivity.
Beginning in the first term of 2009, Cisco and Telstra have committed significant technical, financial and human resources to the network at Djarragun College, an independent primary and secondary school in Gordonvale, located 20 kilometres south of Cairns, and its sister campus at Wangetti, about 100 kilometres away. The schools cater to about 700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
The network will connect the two Djarragun College campuses, providing a virtual learning environment that will enable collaboration and the sharing of information by the school community. This will support better educational outcomes for students and prepare them for the world of work. The network will also help reduce the need for staff to travel between the two facilities.
Within each campus, Cisco and Telstra will install 50 Cisco Unified IP Phones. The Cisco Unified Communications network will help reduce the cost of communications and also allow improved management and technical support from Telstra and Cisco. The network will also serve as the platform for educational innovation at the campuses, including the use of Cisco WebEx®, a system of Internet-based real-time video and collaboration applications. The provision of these technologies will allow students and staff to connect with other students and teachers in Australia and around the world.
Jean Illingworth, Djarragun College principal, said: "This major upgrade in technology and infrastructure will help our students become employable, enterprising citizens who will be ready to step up and embrace all of the knowledge and skills needed to lead the way in the 21st century. It will expand their vision and thinking so they become people who can live and work anywhere and who are able to interact with any culture in any location."
Wireless access to laptops in all classrooms and wireless handsets for staff will reduce physical barriers and provide students, teachers and administrators with better access to resources.
Telstra has enhanced the existing network capacity through the installation of optic fibre near Djarragun College and a frame relay circuit at Wangetti. High-speed broadband will provide the students access with a wealth of information, multimedia and rich video content.
This network upgrade by Telstra will lay the foundation for the deployment of the Cisco networking technologies.
David Thodey, Telstra's Enterprise and Government Group managing director, said that Telstra was pleased to have worked with Cisco to help connect remote education at Djarragun.
"Telecommunications plays an important role in breaking down geographic and social barriers by connecting Indigenous communities to each other and the rest of Australia," Thodey said. "Together we will give these students connectivity and help equip them with many of the skills and tools to help them succeed now and into the future."
The Djarragun College project is managed by the Cisco Australia and New Zealand Civic Council, Cisco's corporate social responsibility arm in Australia and New Zealand.
Les Williamson, vice president Cisco Australia and New Zealand, said: "We have a long and proud history at Cisco of using the network to improve education. Through the Civic Council we have focused on an education initiative where we believe we can help improve education by working with Telstra and Djarragun College."