The need to improve broadband connectivity to primary schools is recognised in the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020, and as noted access to high speed broadband is one of the indicators identified in the Digital Strategy Action Plan. An interdepartmental working group has been established to determine how best to address broadband connectivity to primary schools in collaboration with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in the context of the National Broadband Plan and the Intervention Strategy, and proposed industry provision.
Significant improvement has been made in recent years with the number of primary schools on broadband speeds of greater than 30mbs having increased from less than 100 in 2012 to over 1000 by the end of 2017. In Wicklow in 2012, no primary school had access to broadband speeds of 30mbs or greater, now some 30 primary schools in Wicklow have access to broadband speeds of 30mbs or greater.
The school referred to by the Deputy has the best broadband solution available (5 Mbp/s), given the infrastruture in that area. The service was last reviewed in 2015 in the context of contract renewal, and the available options will be reviewed again later this year
The school is included in the National Broadband Plan Intervention area (NBP), the Government's National Broadband Plan aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment tasked with implementing this rollout. The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment is currently in the formal procurement process to select a company or companies who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area.
The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has published an updated High Speed Broadband Map which is available at www.broadband.gov.ie. This map shows the areas targeted by commercial operators to provide high speed broadband services and the areas that will be included in the State Intervention Area under the National Broadband Plan.
The Map is colour coded and searchable by address/eircode:
- The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP and are the subject of an ongoing procurement process.
- The BLUE represent those areas where commercial providers are either currently delivering or have plans to deliver high speed broadband services.
- The Light BLUE areas represent Eir's commercial rural deployment plans to roll out high speed broadband to 300,000 premises by the end of 2018.