HEAnet on target to connect 200 further schools @ 100 Mbit/s

07 Minister Eamonn Ryan with students










HEAnet Begin Connecting Irish Schools at 100 Mbit/s Speeds

The Irish Government is targeting delivery of 100 Mbit/s broadband to all Irish post-primary schools by the end of 2012.

HEAnet, Ireland’s National Education & Research Network, are supporting the Irish Government in this ambition acting as network managers of this new high-speed schools network. Under this programme, HEAnet will procure, design and build a high-speed network that will connect over 700 post-primary schools at 100 Mbit/s speeds.

HEAnet are pleased to announce that the first phase of this programme is now complete with the first tranche of 78 post-primary schools now connecting to its backbone network at 100 Mbit/s.

100 Mbit/s connections will be rolled-out to all remaining post-primary schools in a number of procurement phases and HEAnet have established a framework agreement with a number of Broadband Providers to facilitate this.

Under this first roll-out phase, school connections interconnect with the nationwide HEAnet backbone at 15 different locations across the country. This regional interconnectivity is being facilitated by HEAnet member institutions who have allowed school connections to be terminated at their respective campus locations. Being able to interconnect at regional backbone locations delivers very cost-effective backhaul from the regions and leverages previous public investment in the HEAnet network to date. HEAnet and the Irish Government are very appreciative of the support being offered by Higher Education Institutions in this regard.

HEAnet also acknowledge the support of ESB Telecoms who provide a significant portion of its fibre backbone.

John Boland, CEO, HEAnet, says:

“Our job is to use our expertise to leverage economies of scale and value for money in delivering services to all our clients, and this is an excellent example of HEAnet, and the Higher Education Institutions, maximising public investment in our shared infrastructure.”

Each school will also benefit from a managed router and all schools will continue to benefit from a portfolio of HEAnet services designed specifically for the primary and post-primary education sector, including: content filtering; centralised firewalling; anti-virus services; website hosting; blog hosting; and proactive network monitoring.

Ronan Byrne, Special Programmes Manager, HEAnet, adds:

“The advent of 100 Mbit/s connectivity at post-primary schools represents a quantum leap in network connectivity for these schools and allows web-based resources to be incorporated in classroom teaching in a far more effective and efficient manner. HEAnet are delighted to build and manage this network on behalf of the Irish Government and schools.”

HEAnet also continue to act as network managers of a separate Broadband for Schools Programme which has delivered more modest levels of broadband to all 4,000 primary and post-primary schools in Ireland since 2005.

HEAnet have established an exemplary track record in delivering network services to schools with a 2009 Dept. of Education & Science evaluation study reporting 99.999% availability of HEAnet network services to schools since the inception of the Broadband for Schools Programme in 2005.

While HEAnet maintains a low profile in its delivery of network services to the Irish education and research sector, it is acknowledged that its network plays a critical role in underpinning research activity and innovation in Ireland. Further, HEAnet’s role in connecting Irish learners is often understated as up to 1 million Irish researchers and students connect to its network every day.

The Schools 100 Mbit/s Programme is being co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union via the National Develop Plan, EU Structural Funds Programmes 2007 – 2013, and the European Regional Development Fund.

For further details, please contact:
Ronan Byrne / Fiona Coyle
Tel: 01 – 660 9040

About HEAnet:
HEAnet is Ireland’s National Education and Research Network, and is a world-class provider of high quality Internet services to Ireland’s Universities, Institutes of Technology and the research and educational community, including all Irish primary and post-primary schools.

It provides a high-speed national network with direct connectivity for its community to other networks in Ireland, Europe, the USA and the rest of the world.

Established in 1984 by the seven Universities with the support of the Higher Education Authority to promote the interchange of information electronically within third level education, HEAnet now plays a critical role in establishing Ireland as a global centre of excellence in Internet activity. These advanced Internet services are essential for HEAnet’s client community to develop the skills needed in the global information society.