Announcing the agreement, Telstra CEO, David Thodey and the Chair of Catholic Network Australia Limited (CNA), Francis Moore, said a AUS$146 million national broadband network would link more than 1,550 catholic schools in what they said was a 'irst for any school sector in Australia.' Under the agreement, over the next two years, Telstra Internet Direct will progressively connect five data centres Australia-wide as Telstra's network is installed, with Catholic Education offices around the country able to share and exchange resources. Thodey said the project would dramatically increase the reach and capacity of broadband connectivity to Catholic schools and provide a diverse range of services for teachers and students.
And, the director of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne and CNA Board member, Stephen Elder, said it was envisaged that CNA would eventually provide a single network for all Australian Catholic agencies and parishes, with increased flexibility. Elder said benefits from the broadband network would include a reduction in total costs for individual Catholic networks and agencies, the opportunity for Catholic schools to be at the forefront of ICT provision and capacity in education, and the opportunity to share exemplary practice, content and resources across all Catholic schools Australia-wide. According to Elder, the new broadband network would also assist Catholic agencies to respond to the increasing accountability requirements of all governments and assist Catholic culture through the creation of online learning communities.