Northern Ireland's schools get education cloud

Northern Ireland's schools will have an education cloud after outsourcer Northgate was awarded a £170 million government contract.

Northgate will support 1,200 schools and over 350,000 teachers and learners through the cloud platform. It was appointed by Classroom 2000 (C2k) to provide the "Education Network Northern Ireland" (ENNI).

Northgate will take responsibility for the wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN) and the enabling telecoms of the deal in partnership with telco subcontractor Eircom.

The five year contract will see Northgate design, implement, manage and support "Europe's first education cloud environment for schools", said the outsourcer, that will provide secure access to resources online. Eircom will deliver connectivity to the cloud by providing schools with up to 200mbps (megabits per second) of bandwidth.

Students will be able to connect to the cloud wirelessly in the classroom and centralised backup and archiving services will "ensure that schools have access to virtually unlimited storage", said Northgate.

Jimmy Stewart, director at C2k, said: "The new ICT service has been designed to recognise the educational requirements of Northern Ireland's schools, deliver technology driven learning environments and incorporate the latest innovations in technology."