Outstations Internet Trial

Quick Links: Get Connected, Friendly Apps, Videos/Music, Cybersafety, Online scamming, Cybersafety Videos and Games

Introduction

The Outstation telephones installed in more than 35 sites in Cape York use a Satellite Internet connection to run phone calls. So with a little modification, these phone systems can also deliver Internet signals. By attaching a wireless antennae, people can use the Internet on wireless devices including desktop computers, laptops, Smart phones, i-devices (ipod, iphone, ipad) and tablet devices. This is a wonderful option bringing connectivity to outstations for social, family, business and educational purposes.
 
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DCBDE) hosted the Indigenous Communications Project which put the telephone systems in, and is now trialling Internet connectivity at 4 Australian sites - Chuula , Ngurrara, Jemelke and Walalakara. DLF is assisting the Queensland Cape York Trial at Chuula. The trial is testing signal strength and useability, as well as collecting stories of the impact of the Internet connection on outstation life.
 
Hopefully after the trial results have been taken into account, further installations will be possible. (Photo; Frill necked Monach Iron Range NP)
 

The connection

  • The Internet connection is a wireless signal accessed by wireless capable devices.
  • It should work well close to the signal, probably about 100 metres.
  • Its speeds will vary between 1Mbps to 6Mbps and upload speed will be around 512Kbps.
  • It is a 20 GB per month allowance and so video watching and streaming should be minimised.
  • After the monthly allowance has been used, it will slow down to 128 Kbytes per second.
  • It is a free service.
  • There is content filtering on the service to prevent access to inappropriate sites.
  • The general sites people access is being monitored during the trial.

 Trial scope

The trial will test the intensity of the signal to see if the signal maintains strength to the areas of the community where it is needed. It will also test how many people and devices can successfully access the Internet and if signal maintains strength at times of the day or in various weather conditions.
 
The trial will also gather data on the changing Internet use of people in the community and how much they believe they are saving with the new service.
 
Interesting stories will also be gathered as case studies about the impact of Internet connectivity in the trial. The use of the connection for school and training will be a great set of stories.
 
Usage patterns data will be collected automatically.
 
The trial will gather data at installation time in October and again in April.

 Training

Communities will also be assisted to

  • set up personal devices to connect to the signal
  • test needed connections - eg: to schools of distance education for video conferencing
  • use neat sites, apps and programs that take advantage of the new connectivity
  • show people who need it, some Internet basics including browser use and safe browsing
  • understand the potential issues with Internet connectivity  and the opportunities it provides ( Cyber citizenship awareness)
  • monitor their use
  • develop a cybersafety policy or acceptible use agreement if communities think this is useful
  • solve anything and answer all questions.

 

The case for Chuula

Chuula is an active and long established outstation between Archer River and Lockhart, nestled between the Wenlock and Pascoe rivers. Some families there, home-school their children with the assistance of the School of Distance Education. Chuula manages broad ranging projects and supports outstation development in the area. It also maintains its own web site. Chuula is a centre for considerable research and training and houses up  to 50 visitors within projects. Internet access will have a profound impact on the people who live at, work at and visit Chuula.

http://www.kaanjungaachi.com.au/ Photo courtesy of Chuula website