High-speed broadband pledged to 200 schools


TWO HUNDRED secondary schools in Galway and in 12 rural counties would be connected to high-speed broadband when term started next autumn, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte announced.

“This will enable connections in every classroom allowing students and teachers upload and download content at will,” he said.

Mr Rabbitte told delegates at the Labour conference that the schools had been notified and seven shortlisted contractors had been asked to submit bids to ensure that all schools would be connected by the end of next August.

He added that the Government’s investment in industrial-strength broadband for schools was on a par with the services used by large offices and international services companies.

“It is completely different to the sort of domestic-scale internet access that almost all schools rely on today. It will provide access to a world of educational resources and learning opportunities for both teachers and students.”

Mr Rabbitte said schools in rural counties in the west and Border regions were being prioritised in the first year of a three-year rollout. They were located in regions which had the weakest broadband infrastructure and where State investment would have the greatest impact.

Mr Rabbitte said the next generation broadband taskforce, which he had been chairing, had completed its work and a report would come before the Government by the end of the month. It would provide a basis for planning the rollout of faster broadband nationwide over the coming years and help pinpoint where it was necessary to intervene to address market failure.