Sunday, August 30, 2015

How Much Internet Does an On-line Student Need?

Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas has expressed concern about the adequacy of the NBN ISS (Australian National Broadband Network Interim Satellite Service). Providing broadband in remote areas could be a boon for education. But what speed, latency and amount of data is needed by a student and does the NBN ISS provide this?

This is a sensitive political issue because the NBN ISS is intended to provide broadband Internet access to remote areas. These are areas which have limited educational facilities and so one obvious use of the NBN is to provide education. Also there are indigenous communities in remote areas and the adequacy of provision of services to these areas is in question.

Is the NBN ISS capable of providing an adequate service for remote students? In particular is this adequate for remote indigenous students, including teacher training?

If not managed well, the introduction of the NBN may increase disadvantage for those outside the cities. If city students have access to large amounts of high speed, low latency broadband, then educators are likely to design their on-line courses for this service. These courses may then not work on limited regional networks. In contrast, if the courses are designed for the limitations of the remote service they will still work in the city.

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