Written answers

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Seirbhísí Leathanbhanda

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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240. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills cén uair a chuirfear seirbhís cheart leathanbhanda ar fáil do scoil (sonraí tugtha); cén fáth nach bhfuil sé seo déanta go dtí seo; agus an ndéanfaidh sí ráiteas ina thaobh. [37033/21]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The school referred to by the Deputy is currently on a wireless service of up to 60mb/s, with the service recently increased to this speed by the current service provider, through the Schools Broadband Programme. The school was included in a recent tender for services run by my Department, and awarded to a provider of high speed broadband. The installation has been delayed however, due to a local issue accessing the high speed broadband infrastructure. The service provider continues to explore all options to roll out the infrastructure to the school. The school will be kept apprised of developments.

The delivery of high quality internet connectivity for all schools is a key objective of my Department. It is accepted that good connectivity is essential to ensure that schools are facilitated to progress the embedding of digital technologies in teaching and learning and for the implementation of new and revised curriculum.

Under the current primary schools programme the Department continually reviews the availability of services and upgrades schools where the opportunity arises, in line with contractual and budgetary requirements.

The policy of my Department is to offer the best quality connectivity to all schools in line with the technical solutions available in the market and within financial constraints. Currently investment of some €13m is allocated annually for the provision of internet connectivity to schools. Broadband capacity varies across geographical locations and is dependent on local infrastructure which can impact on the service that can be provided in individual schools.

My Department is obliged to adhere to procurement regulations, and must engage with the selected providers on the DE Framework of Providers of Broadband Services through a tender process to award services. This is the basis on which all state-funding is utilised to ensure transparency and equal treatment for all schools and providers, and adherence to regulatory requirements.

My Department is working closely with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications to provide high speed connectivity to all primary schools through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan Intervention Area, and commercial provision. All post-primary schools are provided with high speed broadband of 200 Mbp/s or greater through the Schools Broadband Programme.


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