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Public Funding Links Over 1,000 Schools to Full-Fibre Broadband

1,084 schools in rural areas have been connected to gigabit full-fibre broadband as part of the government’s ongoing £5 billion Project Gigabit scheme.

The “next-generation” connections enable teachers to employ online tools such as films and learning games to “bring lessons to life" and to use video conferencing platforms to host joint classes and assemblies with schools worldwide.

As a result of the upgrades, teachers "spend more time planning and delivering lessons and less time staring at loading screens,” the government said.

The investment focused on the 30% of the UK that isn’t reached by ultrafast (100Mbps+) broadband networks and that hasn't been targeted for commercial rollouts from FTTP infrastructure providers like Openreach. 

Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “We are levelling up pupils’ and teachers’ access to the fastest future-proofed broadband, giving hundreds of schools better access to important learning opportunities, no matter where they live.”

The government-backed rollout took in 115 schools in Norfolk, 81 in Wolverhampton, 45 in North Yorkshire, 37 in the Highlands, and 35 in Dumfries and Galloway. 

Another 884 schools will be connected by the end of March 2022, part of an ambitious £210 million full-fibre build that will also deliver connections to 6,800 public buildings across all four nations. These include hospitals, GP surgeries, fire stations, leisure centres, museums and libraries. 

The boosted speeds will “help raise efficiency and quality across vital public services," the government said. For instance, libraries will be able to offer faster connections to users, GPs can access records more quickly, and museums can host more interactive exhibitions.

Additionally, the infrastructure will make it easier for commercial providers to extend networks into the surrounding communities. As a result of the builds, 1.5 million more homes and businesses will be within 200 metres of a fibre optic broadband cable, the government said.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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