Three Ireland to supply schools with free sim cards to bridge digital divide

Data service will be active until the end of the school term

Three Ireland is to provide schools around Ireland with 10,000 data sim cards free of charge until the end of the school year in a bid to bridge the digital divide for students.

The sim cards, which will give access to the network’s unlimited data service, will be sent to primary and secondary schools that register with the company’s website nbetween February 4th and March 5th.

The company said it was an attempt to address the inequality created by the digital divide in Ireland, with some students unable to access high speed broadband needed for much of the remote learning supports put in place for pupils.

The sim cards, which will be sent out in bundles of up to 200 to schoosl, will be valid until the end of the term, and schools will allocate the cards to the students they feel are most in need.



A number of surveys have highlighted poor internet access as a barrier to online learning for young students during the current pandemic.

"At Three Ireland, we feel that no child should miss out on their education because of a lack of connectivity, and we want to help families that need vital access to support their child's learning during the pandemic," said Elaine Carey, chief commercial officer at Three Ireland and Three UK. "With the current restrictions, the ability for students to continue to learn from home is heavily dependent on access to internet connectivity, data and devices. This programme will run until the end of term in June and we hope it enables students across the country to get the internet access they need to continue their education from home."

Samsung will also link up with the mobile network to offer a 15 per cent discount on tablets for parents, with unique codes distributed with the sim cards to schools.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist