Schools Broadband

The Ministers for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and for Education and Science today announced the results of the competitive tender process initiated in August, 2004 for the provision of broadband services and routers to all primary and secondary schools in Ireland. This initiative is jointly undertaken with the telecommunications industry on foot of the establishment of a three year, €18 million joint Government / IBEC-TIF fund.  The project will involve installation of a mix of broadband technologies in schools, including wireless, fixed line (DSL) and satellite, and the service levels proposed will provide always-on high speed Internet access which will support a range of applications.  All schools will be linked to a schools network managed by HEANet, with appropriate helpdesk facilities and security features in place. The successful bidders were as follows:
Digiweb – 1,428 schools Smart Telecom – 1,041 schools Irish Broadband – 592 schools ESAT BT – 585 schools Last Mile – 215 schools HS Data – 87 schools
Eircom will provide the routers in each school which are part of the necessary broadband infrastructure, it will also provide wholesale support over its network for fixed line broadband proposals. Contracts are expected to be concluded with selected tenderers by the end of January and the roll-out programme will commence shortly thereafter. It is intended that all schools are connected as quickly as possible with a target date of end 2005 for full completion. The aggregate value of the contacts over the three years is approximately €20m. The Internet has huge value as an educational tool and the project will serve as a catalyst to firmly engrain ICT into the Irish education curriculum as well as providing a springboard for further broadband roll-out in Ireland. This project represents a true partnership between industry players and Government and it is hoped that it is a highly successful initiative for all  those involved – schools, students, companies and the Government.