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HEAnet completes 1,000 Primary Schools across Ireland with enterprise-level broadband connectivity

Minister for Education, Norma Foley, TD and HEAnet Schools Network Director, Dónal Ó Cearbhaill
Minister for Education, Norma Foley, TD and HEAnet Schools Network Director, Dónal Ó Cearbhaill

HEAnet is pleased to announce that it has completed the connection of high-speed internet access to over 1,000 primary schools across Ireland, exceeding the original goal of 990.

The HEAnet Schools Network plays a crucial role as the primary conduit linking both primary and post-primary schools throughout the country to the Internet. Established as part of the Irish Government’s Broadband for Schools Programme, the Schools Network leverages HEAnet’s extensive network infrastructure to provide reliable high-speed internet connectivity to Primary and Post-Primary schools nationwide.

With funding from the EU National Recovery and Resilience Plan, (NRRP), the Department of Education implemented a project to support students facing educational disadvantages due to limited digital access. The delivery of connectivity to even the most remote primary schools to a minimum of 100 Mbps has benefitted 1,000 schools.

Aligning with the Department’s ‘Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027’, the high-speed connectivity in schools across the country aims to support the Department’s Objective Pillar 1: ‘Supporting the embedding of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment’.

The significance of reliable high-speed internet access in today’s educational sector cannot be overstated. With the broadband connections now in place, this enhanced, enterprise-level connectivity will continue to support the Department’s Digital Strategy, Pillar 2: ‘Digital Technology Infrastructure’. This initiative aims to enhance access to a diverse array of in-class activities, ranging from digital learning platforms to video calls and remote learning, while also encompassing administrative and technical support services.

Dónal Ó Cearbhaill, Schools Network Director at HEAnet said, “HEAnet are delighted to have completed this significant milestone by delivering enterprise-level connectivity to 1,000 primary schools. With the aid of NRRP funding, we are able to bridge the digital divide, ensuring that all Irish schools are able to enjoy the same minimum level of Internet access regardless of their geographic location or the level of broadband access previously available to them. By connecting these schools to the HEAnet network – with secure filtering for student safety – we are now providing reliable, enterprise-level connectivity that will continue to enable schools to realise their digital ambition. We have already seen the positive impact of this high-speed technology in post-primary schools since 2015 and are delighted to now be able to support the primary schools in the same way.”

All post-primary schools have a minimum connectivity level ranging from 200 Mbps to 1 Gbps, whereas primary schools are now connected at a minimum of 100 Mbps thanks to this project.

HEAnet work closely with the Schools Broadband Service Desk, managed for the Department of Education by Oide Technology in Education, to provide support for all aspects of the Schools Broadband Programme as part of the ‘Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027’.

In conclusion, HEAnet will continue to support the digital infrastructure and resources to ensure that all schools in Ireland have access to high-quality internet connectivity. This will help bridge the digital divide and empower students from diverse backgrounds to thrive in the ever-increasing digital world.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) has been developed by the Government so that Ireland can access funding under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility. Ireland is expected to receive €988 million in grants under the Facility. The Recovery and Resilience Facility is the largest component of NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s response to the global pandemic. The aim is to help repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the pandemic and to prepare for a post-Covid Europe that is greener, more digital, more resilient and fit to face the future.

GÉANT CONNECT Magazine - CONNECT 46 -TNC24This article is featured on CONNECT 46, the latest issue of the GÉANT CONNECT Magazine!

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