The Schools Broadband Service should be expanded to enable communities to avail of high-quality broadband cheaply, the incoming president of Chambers Ireland has suggested.
Dr Chris Coughlan remarked: "One way to equip communities with the skill sets needed in the global economy is to extend the Schools Broadband Service to enable all community stakeholders to enjoy the benefits of technology out-of-hours, thereby extending the footprint of broadband services throughout the country in a cost-effective manner."
Coughlan was speaking in the context of the effort to make Ireland a global economic leader.
"Ireland is at a crossroads as we move from a period of high and unprecedented growth which has delivered to so many, to a period that will be characterised by a certain amount of consolidation and change," he told Chambers Ireland's Local Economic and Social Development Conference.
"Given our size and our ability to 'punch above our weight' internationally, there is no reason why we cannot attain new rounds of success based upon innovative actions in the next phase of our development."
As well as allowing communities to take advantage of the Schools Broadband Service, Coughlan re-iterated Chambers Ireland's Digital Policy Council's recent call for all new school textbooks to have a CD-Rom/DVD option as standard.
"By fostering the use of technology amongst the country's young population, Ireland can be a leader and not a follower," he said.
Coughlan is a senior executive with HP.
By Niall Byrne