Cisco, BushTel team

Cisco Systems is set to provide the networking infrastructure for Australia's first public high-speed wireless network, using Internet protocol in the remote north-west.

The Wireless Local Loop (WLL) service, connected to a national telecommunications network, is to be rolled out in partnership with rural telco Bush Telegraph (BushTel) in North Western Australia.

"The adoption of Cisco wireless networking solutions will give BushTel the capacity to provide a host of services which the region would otherwise not have access to," said Terry Walsh, Cisco Systems MD, Australia and NZ.

"These services include IP [Internet Protocol] telephony for local small-to-medium businesses, virtual private networks for businesses, distance education facilities, telemedicine, teleconferencing, lower phone call charges and localised support and infrastructure."

Pat Dodson, BushTel chairman and former chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, believes BushTel's bandwidth will "help "remedy the digital divide and ena-ble Northern Australians to fully participate in the rapidly changing new economy.

"The wireless local loops will reach more customers, at lower cost than any other broadband application," he said.

Cisco has also extended its Networking Academy Program into the remote WA community of Broome to provide training courses and skills for the Internet economy.

Under the scheme, students will be offered courses in Internet networking, and the opportunity to qualify as a Cisco Certified Network Associate.