The NSW government is inviting the private sector to create a Government Broadband Service in regional areas.
The service is to be based on delivering fast networking to regional schools in NSW so that students can access subjects and still have face-to-face contact with teachers through two-way video links.
NSW Minister for Commerce, John Della Bosca, has released a request for proposals aimed at telecommunications companies.
“The network will carry the next generation of electronic and Internet services to people throughout NSW and support the improved delivery of state government services,” he said.
“[The service] will give students and teachers a faster and more reliable Internet connection, bringing data and images to the classroom.”
The proposed network will reach 24 population centres outside of metropolitan Sydney with a number of service providers.
A spokesperson for the NSW Government said it woud be asking the market to come up with proposals, but the Government does not know how much the project would cost and had not allocated a specific amount.
“If we go to the market with an amount to spend, then the responses we get will be conveniently close to the amount we advertise,” he said.
The government spokesperson said there were no plans to roll out more infrastructure for the project, adding that this would be left to the market.
The project will be solely used for Government services and is not expected to be used at a consumer level.
A NSW Opposition spokesperson was concerned that the project was being advertised as improving Internet access for regional NSW.
“The real point of this project was to improve Government services, so the general public will not see the benefits as such,” she said.