A young professional studying at home in Wagga Wagga, a senior nurse in a hospital outside Dubbo, a scientist working in Orange – all will benefit from a high capacity telecommunications link now running north-south through inland NSW.
The new Mitchell Link is a high speed fibre optic line that now connects Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) Albury-Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, Canberra, Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo campuses and other public and private partners across NSW.
CSU Vice-Chancellor Ian Goulter said the Mitchell Link will greatly assist CSU to develop and deliver relevant research and teaching programs for inland NSW and Australia.
Commenced in June 2006, the $4.5 million project, including funding from the Federal Department of Education, Science and Training combined the efforts of private and public institutions to establish a key connection in the national ‘broadband backbone’.
“High quality communications are especially important to regionally based universities, their students and their communities. Effective participation in the national and international world of scholarship is essential to the quality of our research and teaching. The Mitchell Link will assist CSU staff to participate in collaborative research both local and worldwide.
“The network will also support education, health and other essential government services and help empower communities in inland Australia economically, socially and culturally.”
Professor Goulter said that higher bandwidth will enable the University to better serve its distance education students though the capacity for video streaming and video collaboration based on classes as well as improve intercampus communications.
“This is a very significant achievement, as CSU campuses are spread along an 600 km corridor, stretching from the NSW-Victorian border into central NSW. At CSU, we understand the meaning of ‘the tyranny of distance’ and this improved infrastructure will ensure that we provide the same level as expected in metropolitan universities, where many of their campuses are only a few kilometres apart,” Professor Goulter said.
The Mitchell Link was established in collaboration with the Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNet), which aims to expand world class networks and software applications to all its partner organisations, including CSU.
Chris Hancock, CEO of AARNet said, “The Mitchell Link for Charles Sturt University shows how high speed network infrastructure is a fundamental requirement for education and research in regional Australia. The ability for students and researchers to collaborate in real time and at high speed is a pre-requisite for success on the global stage.
“This enhancement provides a leap forward for education across inland Australia.”
The project partners were the NSW Department of Commerce, Soul Pattinson Telecommunications Pty Ltd and CSU, through AARNet. Each partner will have access to separate capacity on the network. CSU contributed $0.5 million towards the cost of construction, while the Federal Government provided $1 million in support.