In Ardnanagh, Co Roscommon, fibre broadband is scarce, and many will have to wait until 2024 to have it installed, yet one local secondary school – Convent of Mercy – has broadband as fast as anything available in a Dublin school.

Convent of Mercy

Ardnanagh, Co. Roscommon

Schools Broadband

Part of €3.2 Million Project

In 2011, the all-girls secondary school was hooked up with 100mb fibre broadband as part of the National Schools Broadband Project which provides an integrated set of services such as broadband connectivity, content filtering, and security services including anti-virus control and a centralised firewall.

“Wireless broadband wouldn’t work for us here because the walls at the convent are very thick,” explains school teacher Niall Cunningham. “Getting broadband installed here was quite the challenge and a huge expense as we needed to have broadband wired throughout the school.

“Now there are ports in every room, so that teachers can connect via their monitor and hook that up to the projector for use during lessons.”
Broadband is still limited in rural parts of Ireland, so Mr. Cunningham says setting up fibre wouldn’t have been possible with the support of European funding.

The Government funded the capital costs of the project and is funding the on-going annual costs into the future. The estimated €38m project was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

“Having broadband installed is a massive benefit to the school and its 500 students. As an Economics teacher, using the internet helps keep my lessons current and gives the students the tools they need to prepare for work and college situations.

“Being able to read news stories about the likes of Brexit gives the students a glimpse of what’s going on and brings a real-life element into the classroom.”

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