Education network eyes ADSL videoconferencing

Videolinq, the organisation that administers Queensland’s TAFE videoconferencing network, has set its sights on migrating from ISDN to ADSL for data transfer.

Consisting of 48 sites spread across regional Queensland from Toowoomba to Cairns, Videolinq was established to provide access to TAFE in remote towns, which would otherwise be unreachable.

“Our aims with Videolinq were to allow distance learning and the ability to share specialised teachers across regional areas,” Paul Crosisca, manager of the Videolinq consortium, said. “The network is running over ISDN; however, we are looking at implementing ADSL from Telstra’s IP network.”

Crosisca described the $44 per hour cost of ISDN as “outrageous” and prohibitive to the take-up of the service.

“ADSL costs $137 per month and this includes the lease fee,” Crosisca said.

Videolinq’s videoconferencing infrastructure consists of Polycom equipment and was implemented by Integrated Vision.

“We previously had PictureTel devices but decided to rebuild the network with Polycom when they began to fail,” Crosisca said. “After considering competing products we chose Polycom because it is reliable, easy to use, and was 40 to 50 per cent cheaper.”

Graham Williams, managing director, Integrated Vision, said IT decisions at Videolinq are made in much the same way as any other enterprise.

“We advise Queensland TAFEs about IT business decisions and could see real value in videoconferencing,” Williams said. “ Videoconferencing delivers classes in a cost-effective way and saves teachers from driving over long distances.”

Videolinq expects to total some 15,000 hours of videoconferencing this year.