The Information Flows

The Clare Champion, Friday, October 31st, 1997

Christmas is to come early for Ennis schools with this week’s announcement that they are to be supplies with a network of modern PC’s, providing access to the Internet and Worldwide Web. These are some of the provisions contained in the future outline for Ennis under its new status of being Ireland’s first Information Age Town.

The announcement of plans for Ennis has arisen out of a number of meetings between Telecom Éireann and the Ennis Task Force to plan the implementation of the Ł15 million Information Age Town package which was awarded to Ennis in September.

Telecom Éireann have revealed that work on the blue-print for Ennis’ Information Age future will begin immediately with many of the initiatives being put in Clare prior to Christmas. These include free voice mail for all households in Ennis and a free telephone for those houses in the Ennis Urban District boundary that don’t already have one.

However, it’s in the local schools, the de Valera Library and a new Community Access Centre that the main short term benefits will be felt. The bank of modern PC’s in the schools will be such that there will be enough to support one whole class at a time. Meanwhile, a bank of computers and an ISDN line will be made available to provide high speed access to the Internet and other services at the de Valera Library.

The University of Limerick has also been brought on board and has agreed to provide training and ongoing support to primary and secondary school teachers in Ennis in relation to the integration of information technology in the whole education process. The University, through the use of video conferencing, will also provide the town’s teachers with ongoing access to lecturers and in-service events conducted by the College.

The state of the art Community Access Centre ear-marked for the town will come on stream as soon as a suitable site is found. This will be a demonstration centre where people can learn about and test all the new technologies which will be installed in their homes and business’ in the coming months.

The centre will also have a video conference suite which Ennis businesses will be in a position to access for their day to day conferencing needs. This Centre will eventually be the home of the Project Team and will be integrating all activities in the same location.

As was confirmed to the “Champion” a number of weeks ago, building will commence shortly of a fibre optic ring around Ennis which will create a high capacity common network or information highway, capable of carrying all communications and information services, rather than having special networks for different services, such as voice, data or video.

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