Foyle students highlight the benefits of fibre broadband

December 13, 2013: Three school children from Foyle, Aaron Dougherty from Ebrington Primary School, Allie Bratton from Ebrington Primary School, and Molly Doherty from St Patricks Primary School were congratulated today after submitting the winning entries to the NI Broadband ‘Superfast Futures’ competition. 

Organised by BT, the competition challenged students in 13 Foyle primary schools to illustrate how fibre broadband can help make a difference in the world through a painting or drawing. 

Of the 250 entries submitted there were three overall winners. 

1st place Aaron Dougherty (Age 8) came up with an idea that would help sick children during their stay in hospital. The computers would be able to recognise each child’s voice, so that they could use superfast internet to do their homework and have fun while in hospital. For children that cannot speak, Aaron suggested that they could use a touch pad beside their bed to control the computer and enjoy using the internet while in hospital. 

2nd place Allie Bratton (Age 8) created an acrostic of the word “Broadband” to describe how fibre broadband makes a difference in our world, starting with B for “Bringing the world together” and ending with D for “Definitely the Future!” 

3rd place Molly Doherty (Age 11) presented a range of ways to show how fast internet can transform our lives. These included better communication and the ability to make friends all over the world, easy access to information and the ability to solve our problems easily through online search, and no more heavy bags due to online shopping. 

Frank McManus, BT’s head of wholesale sales and services, said, “The ‘Superfast Futures’ competition entries from Foyle were amazing with some really creative ideas of how fibre broadband will continue to benefit our lives in years to come. Northern Ireland is in the privileged position of having cutting-edge fibre broadband infrastructure and these young students have done an excellent job of explaining why it should be embraced and exploited to its full capacity.” 

Speaking at the prize presentation at Ebrington Primary School, Stephen Mullan from BT Wholesale took time to explain to the pupils how the internet works, how fibre broadband is making the internet faster, and how the internet is already transforming our lives and communities in Northern Ireland. 

BT’s significant investment in infrastructure as part of both its £2.5 billion fibre roll-out plan in the UK and its partnership with the Northern Ireland government for the Next Generation Broadband Project means that today, 90 per cent of premises in Northern Ireland are connected to a fibre-enabled street cabinet. A recent study on the potential economic impact of fibre broadband by consulting firm Regeneris revealed that an additional £750 million could be contributed to the Northern Ireland economy within the next five years, through the take up and use of fibre broadband by businesses in the region. 

The fibre broadband network is open access enabling other internet service providers to use the network and provide competitive and innovative services to their customers. Currently 24 internet service providers are using the network, delivering download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps. 

Each winning student was presented with a certificate of achievement, and an array of prizes including an iPod Shuffle and an iTunes Gift Card on the day. In addition, all winning and runner up entries will be uploaded to the NI Broadband website. To view the entries or to find out more information on fibre broadband, its availability, benefits and a full list of providers, visit www.nibroadband.com