4th July 2022
Up to 3000 Rural Primary Schools to get Broadband Upgrade
In a Press Release Published on July 1st, the Government Revealed Plans to Improve Digital Connections
A joint £82 million investment from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Department for Education (DfE) announced on July 1st will mean pupils in classrooms across the UK will reap the benefits of full fibre broadband capable of delivering up to 1,000 megabits per second. An estimated 500,000 primary school pupils will be able to use the internet which will enable multiple classes to use the internet uninterrupted.
The three year project will ensure that up to 3,000 eligible schools will be able to embrace efficiencies through modern ways of working. This is expected to generate cost savings and reduce the workload for teaching staff. The programme will cover the costs of connecting rural schools not likely to be connected by commercial rollout currently stuck on outdated copper cables.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said:
"Children’s opportunities in school should not be pre-determined by where they grow up. Today we’re announcing millions of pounds to get lightning fast broadband connections to rural schools and level up children’s access to the best possible teaching. Teaching has been revolutionised by digital technology and we need to make sure all pupils can benefit from the opportunity it brings.”
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said:
"High speed, reliable internet is crucial to helping schools provide the best possible experience for pupils. This investment will open a whole world of possibilities for schools and teachers in hard-to-reach areas, whether that is through more access to online resources for children, or fast, top quality video streaming." "It is more important now than ever for schools to be connected and this welcome investment comes on top of the programme of upgrades to connectivity and Wi-Fi that we are delivering through our Priority Education Investment Areas."
Funding for up to 2,000 schools will be from the DCMS GigaHubs programme, which is part of Project Gigabit, the government’s £5 billion programme to deliver lightning-fast, reliable broadband in hard-to-reach areas of the UK. The scheme is set to connect up to 7,000 rural public sector buildings including schools, GP surgeries, libraries and other public buildings.
The new infrastructure will bring gigabit-capable connections (1,000 megabits per second) to the heart of communities, incentivising more investment in hard-to-reach areas and providing ‘hubs’ from which the commercial sector can connect surrounding homes and businesses.
An additional 1,000 schools will be funded by DfE as part of their mission to enable every school in England to access high-speed internet by 2025.
Project Gigabit is the government’s flagship £5 billion programme to connect hard-to-reach communities unlikely to be connected through commercial rollout, meaning families no longer having to battle over bandwidth and people in rural areas can have the freedom to live and work more flexibly, helping businesses to grow and vital public services to thrive. The faster connections delivered by the scheme have been levelling up rural communities across the UK: enabling businesses to grow by using digital technology to boost their productivity and giving people living in more remote areas better access to good jobs.
To ensure teachers and schools can make the most of these connections in the classroom, DfE is also investing £30 million in the pilot project ‘Connect the Classroom’, which aims to upgrade technology in thousands more schools in priority areas, meaning pupils will benefit from fast Wi-Fi and cloud services and will be able to link up with peers, experts and specialists in countries from around the world via live video calling. The government is investing in ‘Connect the Classroom’ in its Priority Education Investment Areas, 24 areas of the country where education outcomes are weakest and support is being targeted. The delivery of new gigabit connectivity also underpins the government’s net zero ambitions - helping schools to move away from inefficient locally-hosted servers and embrace more efficient and secure cloud data storage, services and devices.
The government’s Priority Education Investment Areas are: Blackpool, Bradford, Derby, Doncaster, Fenlands and East Cambridgeshire, Halton, Hartlepool, Hastings, Ipswich, Knowsley, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire Coast, Norwich, Nottingham, Oldham, Portsmouth, Rochdale, Salford, Sandwell, Stoke-on-Trent, Tameside, Walsall, West Somerset.