The $120 million bounty from Western Australia's government schools project is starting to trickle into the channel as network trials begin in schools.
The four-year project, announced in June, will see 770 schools linked up to a wide area network providing high-bandwidth telecommunications access for the state's 260,000 students and 25,000 teachers.
As negotiations are finalised with prime contractors Telstra and Optus, network trials and infrastructure upgrades have begun in some selected Fremantle schools, according to Bevan Doyle, director of Information Communications and Technology Learning.
Doyle said the project is the first step in an ambitious plan to centrally manage the bulk of all state schools' IT infrastructure, with resellers set to pick up lucrative sub-contracting agreements under the WA Government's "buy local" initiative.
Asked whether the contract would prop up the state's IT industry in an otherwise depressed market, Doyle said: "I'm not an economics expert but you could certainly read that into it. The overall vision [of the Education Department] involves a much larger figure than $120 million."