Defence is to procure some 370 PCs and wireless carriage to provide internet access to help boost the morale of personnel serving overseas, patrolling Australia’s border or on extended exercises.
The initiative will allow approximately 3300 Australian troops currently serving in 13 overseas operations and some 500 domestic personnel to email or call home using VoIP telephony and update their iPods or other similar devices.
Under the initiative one wireless-internet capable fixed PC will be deployed for every ten deployed personnel in each overseas location.
Each console will include instant messaging and VoIP software as well as VoIP hardware and Apple’s iTunes. Security will be provided by commercially available anti-virus and anti-malware software.
The consoles will also feature software supporting Microsoft Word format documents, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, PDF files, MP3 format music and MPEG and Flash videos.
Downlink bandwidth of at least 56kbps of internet access per user when fully loaded with both fixed PC consoles and with wireless users.
“Current-generation Australians utilise the internet for many reasons including personal business, banking, social networking and communicating with friends and family via email, instant messaging or voice over internet protocol (VoIP),” Defence documents on the initiative read.
“[Australian Defence Force] personnel are no different and the provision of these services to deployed forces is seen as a major contributor to morale and an extension of its existing amenities support.”
Australia has troops serving in locations including East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Egypt, and Iraq.