10/04/2019 | John Gardner MP | Better Services

The Marshall Liberal Government’s landmark $80 million project to connect every government school in South Australia to a world class high-speed internet connection is off to a flying start, with more than 20,000 students already connected.

The connection at Ardtornish Primary School means the statewide rollout, which was announced by the Marshall Liberal Government in December last year, has already connected 39 schools, over 22,000 students and in excess of 2,500 educators to high speed, reliable internet before the end of Term 1.

By mid-2020, the project will deliver speeds of up to and beyond 1GB to all 511 government school sites across the state.

Four schools that cannot be connected with fibre optic for logistical reasons will use other solutions to deliver a high-speed connection. 

Internet speeds, reliability and overall performance will improve significantly at Ardtornish Primary School, opening up a host of improved educational possibilities for teaching staff and the school’s 505 students.

Education Minister John Gardner, who officially unveiled the connection at Ardtornish Primary School today, said that fast and reliable internet was essential to delivering the modern education that students need.

“This connection quite literally opens up a world of learning resources and opportunities to the staff and students at schools across the state,” said Minister Gardner.

“With more than 20,000 students already connected, this landmark project is on track to deliver high speed internet to every government school student in South Australia by the middle of 2020.

“The expanded fibre optic network will not only provide high speed internet to our public schools, it also puts a fibre optic connection within reach of thousands of small businesses, public agencies and independent schools across the state.”

“Fast, reliable internet helps our educators access the tools they need to deliver world class education and gives students the chance to connect, collaborate and create in ways like never before.

“We are on track to deliver a system-wide upgrade which will give every public student and educator, regardless of where they live, access to high speed, reliable internet at the speed they need, when they need it.

“Once the project is completed, it is estimated that some schools could experience internet speeds up to 1000 times faster than before.”

Ardtornish PS ICT Coordinator Steve Whitehead said the upgraded internet connection completely changes the classroom learning opportunities available.

“It increases the learning content we can access and use in the classroom and opens up a world of opportunity to connect and collaborate with online tools from all around the globe,” said Mr Whitehead.

“Fast and stable internet means reliability for teachers to facilitate far more engaging and informative learning and enables access to the incredible online tools available, which helps us to bring learning concepts to life.”

Ardtornish Principal Mark Hansen said his teaching staff are looking forward to using the upgraded speeds to maximise the learning experience.

“Teachers are already talking about how they’ll use the increased speed and I am really looking forward to seeing how they pick this up and run with it – the possibilities are endless,” said Mr Hansen.

Telstra’s Head of Enterprise for SA/NT, Adam Oliver, believes the project will deliver many positive benefits for local communities and students as it rolls through South Australia.

“Having access to fast internet is essential for education today, both for access to educational collaboration tools as well as emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality solutions,” said Mr Bolton.

“Telstra is proud to be helping to link the state’s 176,000 public students and 22,000 educators to fast reliable internet and pleased we’ll be able to provide regional and remote students with the same technological access and opportunities as those based in city locations.”