Eircom's contribution to the project

Eircom is supporting “Classroom of the Future” as part of the “Information Age Schools” initiative. The Eircom group (formerly Telecom Eireann and Telecom Internet from Eirtrade) have provided access to emerging and advanced telecommunications services for the period of the project, subsidising or in some cases waiving the charges associated with such services. The project will run during the academic years 1997 / 98 and 1998 / 99. This will provide a bridge between the existing situation and the 1999 / 2000 academic year, by which time the schools IT 2000 project will be well established. 

In particular, Eircom have provided the following to a target group of ten schools and two educational centres - 

  • Access to TINet internet service, waiving any charges. 
  • Provision of basic rate ISDN. Eircom have provided a basic rate ISDN connection to those schools that didn't already have one. This connection allows 2 X 64kb/s channels plus a 16kb/s signalling channel on a single copper pair. It can be used for higher speed internet access, plus switched services such as video-conferencing. Eircom have waived any connection and rental fee associated with the new line for the duration of the project. For schools with existing lines, Eircom will waive the rental during the project, but it will not be possible to retrospectively waive any earlier connection charge. 
  • Support of ISDN call charges. Eircom will provide a usage credit for ISDN call charges, up to a predetermined ceiling, for the duration of the project. This should allow schools make use of the technology, without worrying unduly about the charges, but at the same time making schools realise that the services will be at a cost in the future. 
  • Possible deployment of further enhanced access technology. Where technically feasible, Eircom hope to deploy pilot ADSL equipment in certain participating schools. This technology will allow retrieval of information from the internet at a speed 100 times faster than existing technologies. (Such technology will only work over short distances from the local telephone exchange, and may not be feasible for schools during the course of the project) 
  • Provision of Internet policing software. TINet's “Cyberpatrol” software restricts access to unsuitable content, and polices the amount of time spent by individual users. 
  • Provision of a multimedia PC. (This equipment is being made available over time to every school in the country through the Information Age Sxchools initiative) 
  • Provision of ISDN video conference equipment. Eircom will lend V Tel video conference equipment to the ISDN schools for the duration of the project. This will allow schools communicate with each other, and possibly with other schools throughout Europe. 
  • Sponsorship of a debating competition. Eircom will support a debating competition over the video conference facilities, again allowing participation of schools in other parts of Ireland and possibly Europe also. The participating schools may extend beyond the ten schools directly involved in the project. 
  • Support of language / cultural exchange (Irish and continental) sessions as part of the project - details to be finalised. 
  • Support of involvement by other educational organisations. Similar facilities to those provided in the schools were also provided, on the same basis, to Blackrock Education Centre and Education Research Centre Drumcondra. 
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