The policy of my Department is to offer the best quality connectivity to all schools in line with the technical solutions available in the market and within financial constraints. Currently investment of some €13m is allocated annually for the provision of internet connectivity to schools. Broadband capacity can vary across geographical locations and is dependent on local infrastructure which can impact on the service that can be provided in individual schools.
In relation to the school referred to by the Deputy, I have requested the schools broadband service desk team to work with the school to assist in troubleshooting the schools internal network. The existing router can deliver speeds up to 30mbs and the Service Desk inform me that they have investigated the connection in to the school and those speeds are being delivered on the connection. That speed should allow for the activities, which as described by the school, cannot take place currently. Therefore it is possible that the problem relates to issues with the internal network within the school and not the broadband connectivity or the router type currently installed..
The school was offered the new router in March, as pointed out in the correspondence, and decided not to progress the installation at that time. This equipment is subject to a public procurement process which is currently underway with the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) given that the previous contract has expired. This process which will put in place, a new contract for the provision of Routers and Associated Services for the Schools Broadband Programme, is nearing conclusion and once this new contract is in place router upgrades will commence. The Schools Broadband Service Desk will engage with the school referred to at that point, to arrange their router install as soon as possible.
In the meantime, the school should continue to work with the Schools Broadband Service Desk with a view to maximising their current provision.