High-speed broadband transforms education opportunities at Cavan National School

Students experience power of digital tech from NBI fibre deployment

A County Cavan primary school has been transformed with “hope and opportunity” according to its principal, after receiving a new high-speed fibre broadband connection.

Kilmore Central National School is achieving minimum speeds of 500Mb/s following its connection to the new high-speed fibre network built by National Broadband Ireland (NBI).  It is the first school connected to the NBI network under the National Broadband Plan.  Over 600 schools are included in NBI nationwide project.

Reliable, high-speed broadband connectivity has never been so important for the education sector in Ireland, as many schools have experienced an accelerated adoption of technological advances in recent years.  The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic meant schools became much more reliant on digital and online educational tools. To fully maximise new tools and technologies, there is a requirement for high-speed fibre broadband. 

Ms. Lorna Moffatt, acting principal of the 49-pupil school, said: “Before we were connected to high-speed fibre broadband we would always have had to have a back-up plan when planning lessons using ICT due to a lack of reliability on the internet so we would have had to rely heavily on text books and old-style teaching. Now, there is more hope having fibre broadband in our school due to all the opportunities that we have been given.  We are a STEM school; we have a STEM award – all our lessons are enhanced.’

“Being connected to high-speed fibre broadband has meant the children can use iPads more freely in the classroom.  They have the opportunity to use the iPads in every subject, literacy, numeracy, STEM, coding. We now have a school website that is up and running and we can connect with the wider community, potential parents and parents of existing pupils.  Children can share their work on the website.  In terms of assessment the children can submit their work through the iPads, they can email it to the teacher – they’re developing life skills. It’s brought everyone a little bit closer together,” she said.

David McCourt, Chairman of National Broadband Ireland, commented: “Seeing the transformative nature of this project on a small, rural school, our first school connection, is an extremely proud moment for NBI.  We are delighted that Kilmore Central National School, its teachers and pupils, can now experience the full range of educational benefits that high-speed broadband provides.  As we work to overcome the delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that we strive to reach these important milestones so as to ensure we can connect more schools and other premises across the county and nationwide as quickly as possible.”

Under the National Broadband Plan, over 554,000 premises nationwide are included in the Intervention Area, which was established by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications to identify areas where commercial operators are not currently providing access to high-speed broadband or do not intend to.  

The project sees NBI delivering minimum speeds of 500 megabits per second to farms, homes, businesses and schools. As the biggest investment in rural Ireland since rural electrification, County Cavan itself will receive €65m of Government investment under the NBP to address over 16,000 premises.

Schools, along with residents and businesses will be able to order their connections through a number of Retail Service Providers (RSPs) who will offer services over the network. As a wholesale provider, NBI will make the new Fibre-to-the-Home network available to all RSPs operating in the Intervention Area. Some 46 RSPs have already signed up to sell services on the NBI network and 30 are certified as ready to start providing connections as of today. This is expected to bring significant benefits directly to consumers and businesses, where competition between RSPs will ensure quality bundled packages offer choice around voice, broadband, TV and mobile at competitive prices.  To find out more about the RSPs signed up to offer services over the new network visit: www.nbi.ie/where-can-i-buy/.  

NBI is encouraging people to check their eligibility and register for updates at www.nbi.ie/eoi to receive regular notifications related to their own premises as works progresses in their area.