€2 MILLION spent by RTÉ on “refresh device” costs in lockdown 

RTÉ spent more than €2.6 MILLION on the cost of staff working from home during the lockdown. 

Figures released to Carol Nolan TD  show that “at the start of lockdown in March 2020, RTÉ purchased a number of laptops and other services (VPN licences and Netscaler) to immediately support staff that needed to work from home. Those costs were approx €100,000.”

However, RTÉ said that embracing remote working during the pandemic meant that a “device refresh project” already underway meant a switch to laptops and update of software costing some €2 million.

“Just prior to the start of the pandemic, RTÉ was in the process of replacing all Windows 7 devices across the company (desktops and laptops) with Windows 10 devices. This refresh programme has been slowed down because of the pandemic and but is nearing completion. Before the pandemic, our footprint was about 80% desktops and 20% laptops. Now we are about 75% laptops and 25% desktops,” the state-funded broadcaster said.

“The device refresh project has a budget of just over €2m and is a project that need to be completed whether there was a pandemic or not, but the outcome is different now (more laptops than originally intended) as we have embraced remote working.

RTÉ provides its own WiFi network across all its sites that is open for all staff and visitors to use.

RTÉ said that while it does not contribute towards staff home broadband expenses, the organisations mobile telephone costs for staff are generally “less than €500,000 a year (including device costs).”

RTÉ’s €2 million device refresh budget is substantially more than the combined remote working roll-out costs of the Department of Agriculture (€1million) and the Department of Defense (€556,659, including VAT).
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