Tenders have been invited by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources for the first phase of deployment of broadband services in up to 100 first and second level schools.
The call for proposals for the advance deployment follows the Government’s decision to provide broadband connectivity to all schools in Ireland over the coming year.
The initiative has attracted some €15m from the ICT industry under the Schools Broadband Access Programme for the deployment of broadband to some 4,100. A public tendering process is currently being prepared by both the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Communications.
Describing the advance deployment as a “separate and distinct development”, the Minister for Communications, Dermot Ahern TD said that broadband providers are invited to submit a proposal to showcase their broadband technologies in 10 schools of their choice. It is intended to allow for early identification of practical issues arising from the deployment of broadband services to schools and the development of a centrally managed schools network.
Minister Ahern said: “Bringing broadband to every school in the country will ultimately prove one of the most significant educational developments of our time. By using it in the school youngsters will be familiar with the technology and bring it into their everyday life and their workplace when they graduate.”
Providers have been requested to make one proposal offering free broadband services to ten schools of their choice, subject to the agreement of those schools and the Department of Education & Science. It is envisaged that a maximum of 10 proposals covering up to 100 schools are expected, with a full deployment of those services aimed at mid-September this year.