Broadband ‘paying off in schools but challenges remain’

High-speed broadband is paying off for teaching and learning in second-level schools – but teachers and students still face many challenges around the use of computers in the classroom.

A new report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) highlights how Irish education still has a way to go to integrate technology into daily school life.

According to the report there are a “number of persistent challenges that are likely to hinder further progress”, including the need for more investment in infrastructure, better technical support and more teacher training.

It says classroom usage of the new technologies varies considerably across schools and is heavily influenced by the support offered by school leadership.

Researchers looked at the experience of 400 second-level schools, with an in-depth study of 10 schools, after they had received the reliable internet connection through the Schools 100Mbps Project.

The report put a particular focus on the views of students, which tend to be largely absent from studies about the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in education.

Catch the full article here in the Irish Independant
– Copyright Katherine Donnelly

Google Fiber confirms roll-out stop, CEO Barratt leaves

Google has confirmed a slowdown in the development of its fibre broadband roll-out in the US while it considers alternative access technologies.

The company said it will continue the roll-out in cities where it’s already operating or started deployment, but talks in other places on its longer list of potential coverage areas will stop.

Google said the break is needed to “refine its approach” and “stay ahead of the curve — pushing the boundaries of technology, business, and policy”. Without providing many details, the company said its revised plan “enhances our focus on new technology and deployment methods to make superfast internet more abundant than it is today”.

It also means the resignation of Craig Barratt, who has headed the fibre activities as CEO of Access at Alphabet. Google did not comment on his successor. Barratt delivered the news in a blog post, saying the fibre business is “solid” and continues to grow customers and revenues quickly.

Catch the full article here in the Telecompaper
– Copyright Telecompaper

Vodafone to hike broadband prices

Householders who have broadband from Vodafone are being hit with price hikes.

The telecoms giant is increasing prices by up to €84 a year.
And it is ending some of its older mobile phone plan deals.

The company confirmed that broadband prices are rising by between €5 and €7 a month from the first day of November. One frustrated customer explained that his ‘Simply Broadband’ deal with the telecoms company will go from €38 a month to €45. “That is just under a 20pc increase to the price I agreed to 10 months ago when I signed a 12-month contract,” he said.

In a statement, the company said: “This adjustment is in response to increased operational costs, primarily due to the rise in wholesale prices.”

It added that the price of its recently added TV, broadband, home and mobile package will not be affected by the increase.

Catch the full article here in the Irish Independant
– Copyright Charles Weston