25 June, 2009 - Four Cork schools part of pilot plan for high-speed wireless broadband - Minister O'Keeffe

Four schools in Cork are to get high-speed wireless broadband connectivity as part of the Government's pilot plan to give students instant internet access anywhere in the school, according to the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD.

Cork College Of Commerce in Morrison's Island; Coláiste Choilm in Ballincollig; Christ King Girls' Secondary School in Half Moon Lane; and Carrigaline Community School in Waterpark Road are among 78 schools nationwide that will get high-speed broadband as part of a €16 million investment.

These schools are part of the 100 mega bytes per second (mb/s) post-primary schools project launched by the Government today.

Under the existing Schools Broadband Programme, primary and post-primary schools can access a basic level of broadband connectivity.

The 100mb/s post-primary schools project is a wireless pilot initiative that runs until the end of 2011.

'This marks the next phase in the Government's ambition to develop our schools into centres of e-learning and to make technology an integral part of the learning process.

'High-speed wireless broadband means that students will be able to upload and download material faster, access high-volume digital educational content and connect instantly to websites from any part of the school.

'In fact, the speeds will be similar to those offered to high-end national and multinational companies operating here,' said Minister O'Keeffe.

He said the Government is making enormous strides in developing our schools information communications technology (ICT) capacity.

'Earlier this year, I announced that over 70 primary schools in which major construction work was completed last year would each get €5,000 per classroom to buy computer hardware, software and digital equipment.

'This is the first time there has been an ICT allowance per classroom at primary school level.

'Today's announcement at second level shows that we're committed to building schools' ICT capacity in today's increasingly knowledge-based society,' said Minister O'Keeffe.

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has now begun a tender process for broadband service providers.