Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (234)

Derek Nolan


234. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the time frame within which schools in County Galway will be connected to high speed broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9776/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

All recognised post primary schools in Galway have been connected to the Schools High Speed 100 Mbit/s Broadband Network, with the exception of Gairmscoil Fheichin Naofa, Corr na Mona, which is due to be installed by early March 2013.

Under the Schools Broadband Access Programme the Department provides for the supply of internet connectivity for all recognised primary schools in Galway. All contracts under the Schools Broadband Access Programme were recently re-tendered under a public procurement competition. As a result of this the number of service providers has been expanded from 6 to 13 with the aim of ensuring that where available that a preferred solution would be awarded to a school. These contracts were signed in the summer and the migration of schools onto the new services is currently under way.

The Department is aware of the difficulty that some schools have with their broadband service. Through the public procurement process the Department has sought as far as possible to reduce the reliance on slower services and the number of schools reliant on a satellite connection has fallen from approximately 1,800 in 2005 to approximately 250 at present. Satellite connections and some other slower connections have only been awarded where no other solution was proposed and contracts for these connections have only been awarded for one year. In the case of Galway there are 4 schools connected by satellite. These schools will be re-tendered next summer and in the interim the Department will liaise with service providers to try and ensure that where possible improved connections will be made available.