Working with Dublin area groups to improve digital access
Eighty-eight percent of people in Ireland had used the internet within the last three months according to a recent survey, and of recent internet users, nearly 80 percent used the internet every day. In the third quarter of 2020, the Commission for Communications Regulation found that fixed broadband traffic had increased 63 percent year-over-year. The Irish government recognizes the importance of reliable internet connection and has committed to providing high-speed internet access to all premises (homes and businesses) in Ireland.
Microsoft, which has a datacenter in Dublin, has committed to helping improve access to broadband in its datacenter communities. Several recent partnerships in the area are helping local organizations by ensuring high-speed, reliable connections that allow digital access to therapy, teaching, learning, and collaborating.
Clondalkin Addiction Support Programme (CASP) and Clondalkin Drug & Alcohol Task Force (CDATF) provide drug and addiction support services to those struggling with addiction and to their families. CASP offers drop-in services, providing breakfast, tea, and coffee, with support staff available to connect clients with the appropriate resources. CDATF provides referrals to agencies like CASP, in addition to supporting addicts and their families, influencing public policy, and conducting research. Microsoft, in partnership with HarborTech Mobility, is supporting these groups with a wireless local area network (WLAN) upgrade that will ensure consistent access to online support systems and resources for employees and visitors.
The Fettercairn Community and Youth Centre offers a variety of resources to those in the Tallaght of Dublin. Prior to COVID-19, the facility acted as a gathering space, with meeting rooms, a playground, and computer and printer access. While physical access to the space is currently limited, folks are still able to print forms and complete tasks like vehicle registrations at the center.
The Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA), headquartered in Dublin, assists those with physical disabilities by providing housing resources, organizing sporting events, and facilitating transit. The Lucan location is a community center that offers assisted living services and community outreach programs.
Microsoft awarded grants to help upgrade both of these centers’ WLAN infrastructures and provide three years of service. This will ensure that staff can reliably connect guests with the appropriate resources, whether for employment, leisure, or other purposes.
Collinstown Park Community College is home to a Microsoft Datacenter Academy (DCA), including a mock datacenter for students to engage in hands-on learning. To make sure that students always have the connection speed they need, Microsoft worked with the college to install dedicated, secure broadband to the lab.
ACE Enterprise Park is a business incubator where small to medium size businesses can network and receive advice. Annually, ACE can accommodate 1,800 trainees and is home to businesses and community groups. After a catastrophic broadband hardware failure in 2020, Microsoft worked with ACE to build a fiber-based LAN with redundancies in place. The improved network will provide a multipurpose space supporting an audience from students to the elderly and everything in between. “We were delighted and overwhelmed when Microsoft came on board to help deliver the Fibre Optic Network infrastructure in our Enterprise Parks. We can now offer secure and reliable connection and additional benefits to our users, from CCTV to the use of an audio-visual suite suitable for virtual training,” says Lisa Rowntree, CEO of ACE Enterprise Park.