The LGMA Libraries Development team, in partnership with the Department of Rural and Community Development and Microsoft Ireland, have launched an exploratory initiative that will seek to deliver free broadband to second-level students from disadvantaged backgrounds for the duration of their senior cycle.
The initiative will look to use the existing high-speed broadband connection in five public libraries across five counties (Carlow, Donegal, Kilkenny, Mayo and Waterford), to deploy Microsoft’s cutting-edge Rural Airband technology to enable broadband to be delivered to up to 200 households – roughly 40 per county – which do not have good internet access.
Tom Enright, Chief Executive of Wexford Co. Council and Chair of the Libraries Development Committee said:
“Libraries are all about access and equality so we’re delighted to work with Microsoft Ireland, schools and families on this project that will test a new way of providing much-needed reliable broadband to students as they prepare for their senior cycle. This initiative really demonstrates the reach and impact libraries can have, finding new ways to do things, breaking down barriers, and delivering equality of opportunity. We hope to learn from this pilot project to deliver more interventions to support students and others in future.”