Ambitious wireless project sees Education Authority rollout the largest Wi-Fi installation in Europe

23rd May 2023

The Education Authority has partnered with BT to bring state-of-the-art internet access to all schools across Northern Ireland under the Education Information Solutions Programme (EdIS).

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Mark Murtagh Vice Principal, Isobel Temple, Principal, Catherine Barr, C2k Service Integration Manager and Melanie BT

This project will see enhanced wireless connectivity throughout all teaching and learning areas with the installation of over 24,000 new wireless access points from world renowned IT supplier, Cisco Meraki. As the largest single Cisco Miraki wi-fi deployment in Europe, it will prepare NI schools for the future of education, enabling every child to have equal access to technology in the classroom regardless of geographical location or socio-economic background.  

Jayne McIlgorm, EdIS Network and Infrastructure Lead explains:

“The EdIS programme is making significant strides as we invest in digital services which will provide exceptional  learning experiences for all our children and young people, equipping them with skills for the future and reducing educational inequalities. The provision of enhanced connectivity in schools is laying the foundations for the delivery of future EdIS services.

Through our wireless project, school staff and pupils across the country will experience a substantial improvement in how they access online learning throughout all classrooms and communal areas.”

Pilot schools received their wireless upgrades during March 2022 and since then over 170 schools have benefited from these improvements; all schools in Northern Ireland will have their wi-fi connectivity increased by the end of 2024.

 Melanie McMordie, Account Director for Business, BT in Northern Ireland, said:

In the increasingly digital world that we live in, where interactive and online learning for young people is the norm, connectivity and equal access to fast and reliable Wi-Fi solutions is so important.

At BT, we want the next generation of young people to be able to benefit from having the fastest Wi-Fi available to them to help facilitate learning and development. This also supports our pledge to provide 25m people across the UK with digital skills by 2026.

Working with our partners, we have met the challenge of using existing infrastructure in local Northern Ireland schools to continue to roll out connectivity solutions to meet the growing needs of our young people and teachers. I am proud to say this partnership has become the largest Wi-Fi roll-out in Europe.”

Isobel Temple, Principal of St Moninna’s Primary School, Cloughoge said:

Since receiving our install, the staff and pupils have been making full use of the school’s wireless provision.  The install was swift, painless and the engineers on site were easy to work with and very accommodating to the school’s needs.

Currently, connectivity for over 80 iPads, touchscreens and C2k managed devices is now achievable, especially with the increased coverage across the entire school. For us this is a complete game changer. It is the best project to be delivered to our school in a very long time and we are completely overjoyed with the solution and what it enables the school to achieve.”

Last updated: 23/05/2023