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Friday, 25 June 2010 16:58

NSW Government trials NBN apps

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The NSW Government's Broadband Task Force, in conjunction with other organisations, has launched trials of NBN applications over the FTTH network being rolled out by Opticomm in the Parkbridge residential development in western Sydney.

The NSW minister for commerce, Paul Lynch, said up to 40 households at Parkbridge Estate would have access to four applications during the trial, which willl run until the end of the year.

He said that this initial trial would help inform a more comprehensive series of trials that would include the NBN first release sites in the Northern Tablelands at Armidale and at Minnamurra and Kiama Downs on the South Coast.

The initial trials will include:
- a smart metering system that will allow families and businesses to track their energy consumption in real time and adjust energy use accordingly;
- a touch screen communications system for people unable to access more common communications systems;
- a virtual world learning environment for school students using web cameras, computers and live video interaction;
- high-definition Internet TV.

For the smart metering trial Integral Energy will replace normal electricity meters with smart meters that will collect data across the day and provide residents with near real time updates on their home energy use.

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The touch screen trial is being managed by the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre in collaboration with business technology firm Consult Point. It will allow residents to easily keep in touch with someone in aged care, community care, or a young child that cannot use email or telephones.

The participants in the virtual learning environment will be Year 3 and 5 students from Middleton Grange and Kellyville Public Schools who will be able to "communicate and collaborate in a structured learning activity."

According to the Government, "Students will be represented by their live video image and they will be able to see and hear each other and interact with video screens and virtual interactive whiteboards. Using the same technology, pre-schoolers from Parkbridge Estate will have the chance to participate from home in Storytime sessions which are normally held in the Middleton Grange Public School library."

This trial is also being managed by the Smart Services CRC, in collaboration with the NSW Department of Education and Training.

The HDTV trial is being undertaken by NICTA in collaboration with Opticomm. The initial content will be free-to-air television channels and the ABC iView catch-up service, via a new NICTA-developed application that personalises television viewing and adapts to user preferences.

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According to NICTA, "The quality of the Internet video content has been upgraded to suit a large-screen television set rather than a PC screen."

NICTA researcher, Sebastien Ardon, said: "The first fifty Parkbridge Estate residents who sign up for the trial will receive a set-top box from NICTA that will let them use their high-speed NBN connection to view programmes at a much higher quality than is normally possible over standard ADSL lines. As it becomes available, high-definition content will also be supported."

The trial will later expand to include government information on demand. AARNet is helping to provide high-speed links between these partners.

The NSW Government's Broadband Network Task Force is chaired by the director general of the Department of Services, Technology and Administration and includes representatives from" the Department of Premier and Cabinet; Industry & Investment NSW; the Land and Property Management Authority; the Department of Planning; the Department of Health; the Department of Education and Training; the NSW Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer; the Government Chief Information Officer; The Australian Telecommunications Users Group; NICTA; CSIRO; CEPU.

The Government has set up a web site www.broadband.nsw.gov.au that "highlights the work of the NSW National Broadband Network Taskforce."

 

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