As promised, the Marshall Government has now delivered a high-speed internet connection to nearly every school in South Australia.
The $80 million first stage of the SWiFT internet program has seen hundreds of kilometres of fibre optic cable laid out across the state to reach around 500 school sites, giving them access to the some of the fastest internet speeds in the country.
Auburn Primary School became the latest school to be hooked up to high speed fibre optic cable, with the mid north school joining 179,000 students and 22,000 teachers who are benefiting from the statewide rollout.
A remaining 11 regional and remote sites with complex implementation requirements will be connected to high-speed internet by the end of the year.
The State Government has also begun extending the rollout of high-speed internet to all preschools and children’s centres, as part of an additional $50 million investment that will also include improved internet security across all schools, improved content filtering software and a modern network architecture.
So far 150 preschools have been connected, with all preschools set to be complete by mid-2021.
Education Minister John Gardner said access to lightning quick internet will help deliver better educational outcomes for students across South Australia.
“This $130 million investment is bringing South Australian schools and preschools into the 21st century, opening up a world of learning resources and opportunities for staff and students across the state,” said Minister Gardner.
“Our teachers and students deserve access to high speed, stable internet, and this technology will help future proof the South Australian education system for years to come.
“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for learning in schools to be modern and adaptable, and the rollout of high speed internet has certainly made this easier for many schools.
“We are now working hard on the second stage of this program, completing connections to all our preschools and children’s centres, as well as those few regional sites with complex implementation requirements, to ensure that no-one is left behind.”
Adam Oliver, State Manager, Telstra Enterprise and Government SANT, said recent events have demonstrated how crucial the rollout is.
“Recent times have demonstrated the importance of connectivity,” said Mr Oliver.
“The partnership between Telstra and the Department for Education on rolling out SWiFT will help provide new opportunities and bring South Australian schools and preschools closer together in terms of their access to technology and learning.”
Briony Ackland, Principal of Auburn Primary School, welcomed the connection.
“This connection enables our teachers to take full advantage of the opportunities a reliable and high quality internet connection affords them,” said Ms Ackland.
“It makes sure our country kids don’t have to miss out on anything students in the city have access to.”