Improved Internet Bandwidth and Speeds
Broadband is now considered a human right by the United Nations, yet internet access remains a significant concern across metro, regional and remote Western Australia. Perth’s average download speed is 7.1Mbps, which is slower than the national average of 7.8Mbps and much slower than the comparable Canadian average of 11.9Mbps (country of similar size and development). In regional WA, the new National Broadband Network’s (NBN) Sky Muster service has provided an improvement to the previously oversubscribed NBN interim satellite service. Plans to establish 266 new mobile phone towers in regional WA will also provide access to high-speed wireless broadband. However, in the meantime regional and remote affiliates continue to be affected by slow and poor internet connection.
All students should have access to reliable, fast internet. Slow or unreliable internet and ageing student devices in schools is undermining the achievement of Department of Education’s SOE vision. Schools are increasing the number of student devices in use, moving towards wireless internet usage and online student testing. All of those changes affect, and are affected by, internet speed and bandwidth capacity. Reliability and performance issues can result in students getting distracted, falling behind or having limited access to the classroom resources they need. Further, WACSSO has received reports from affiliates that slow and unreliable internet has led to some teachers actually limiting the use of ICT in classrooms, as it contributes to behaviour management problems amongst students.
WACSSO calls for:
- an upgrade of bandwidth capabilities for all schools;
- a commitment to ensuring imminent, high-speed internet access for all students, including adequate provision for students in rural and remote areas of Western Australia;
- the ‘My School’ website to include data stating the speed, quality and availability of each school’s internet access so that the delivery of the Australian Curriculum at an individual school level can be assessed against their ability to fully use electronic curriculum delivery and learning resources; and
- increased funding for the Department of Education’s ICT strategy and the successful deployment of the Standard Operating Environment (SOE) - this will replace old ICT systems, hardware and network infrastructure, with systems and infrastructure capable of current and projected access demands.
For referencing and the full report, click here.