Rural children’s education affected by poor broadband, survey suggests

29 Aug 2022

Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom. Image: John Ohle

According to a survey of parents, 28pc of children’s homework now relies on the internet. But many are facing broadband issues.

More than one-third (36pc) of parents in Ireland have said that their child has been unable to complete homework due to slow or no broadband at home.

Children living rurally are also more likely to be affected by poor broadband services, according to a survey by Irish telecoms company Pure Telecom.

Pure Telecom’s survey was carried out in August by Censuswide on a nationally representative group of 252 parents of primary and secondary school children as part of a 1,001-person national study.

It revealed that 28pc of children’s homework now relies on the internet. However, slow broadband or no broadband connection in some homes is leaving many Irish children unable to complete their homework.

According to parents surveyed, 40pc of children living in rural areas have been unable to complete their homework at home due to internet issues, while 38pc have carried out their homework away from their home in order to access better internet. This is compared to 33pc of children living in urban or suburban areas.

“In today’s digitally progressive society, the internet is integral to a child’s education,” said Paul Connell, CEO of Pure Telecom.

“School programmes, and therefore homework, have become increasingly sophisticated, so it is extremely important that children across the country have access to high-speed broadband both at home and in the classroom.”

According to the Pure Telecom survey, the majority of parents (72pc) are satisfied that their child’s school is doing enough regarding e-learning opportunities. Just 6pc of parents said they were not satisfied with the access to high-speed broadband at their child’s school.

Connell added that the National Broadband Plan, along with the Government’s Schools Broadband Programme, are “vital for the educational achievement of our youngest generations”. But the National Broadband Plan has attracted criticism in recent months due to delays in the roll-out.

In 2020, Pure Telecom signed a €10m deal with BT Ireland to expand its broadband reach within Ireland. The year before, it signed a similar multimillion-euro deal with Enet.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic