Amber Rudd has welcomed new funding for St. Michael's CE Primary School in Playden near Rye to provide them with gigabit-capable broadband connections as part of the Conservative Government’s commitment to improve internet infrastructure in rural areas.
This £3m pilot programme will provide more than 100 rural schools with high-speed broadband connections, providing primary school students with valuable technology skills and giving schools easier access to online training and educational learning.
3 schools have already been connected, and 52 have signed contracts with work expected to be completed in the coming weeks – including St Michael’s Primary. Those schools already connected under the programme have seen their broadband speeds jump from 0.5 Megabits per Second (Mbps) to 100Mbps, and have the capability to be upgraded to 1,000Mbps (1Gbps) in the future.
This trial is further progress in the Conservatives’ commitment to providing 100 per cent of the UK with affordable, fast and reliable broadband by 2020, while concurrently ensuring that the UK is the safest place in the world to be online.
Commenting, Amber Rudd MP said:
“This high speed internet boost is exactly what we need in our schools, ensuring that young people have access to super-high speeds which will aid them in learning. I am pleased that this infrastructure has come to our constituency, which along with East Sussex has some of the poorest broadband connectivity and speeds in the country. I am glad that this level of investment is possible under the sensible budgeting of our Government.
“This new programme will be vital to ensuring all young people have access to the digital infrastructure they will need to succeed in life, regardless of whereabouts in the country they live.”
Minister for Digital, Margot James said:
"This project is a great example of the Government's new "outside in" approach to rolling out full fibre broadband, which is taking gigabit broadband to the hardest to reach rural areas first. As well as making a dramatic difference for students in the classroom, by using the schools as broadband hubs we are also making ultrafast broadband available to thousands of rural homes and businesses across the country more quickly."
The trial is part of the Government’s £190 million Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme, and will see the schools benefit from fully-funded and future-proof full fibre connections directly into their classrooms. The new connections being provided to schools has had the additional benefit of increasing connectivity for surrounding homes and businesses. Once the fibre has been laid (with the school acting as a “hub”) connecting other premises in the area becomes much more commercially viable to broadband providers.
The trial will be instrumental in shaping the £200 million second round of the LFFN Challenge Fund, targeting the hardest to reach areas in the UK. Building on the same principle, the programme will deliver gigabit capable connections to key public and business buildings, including schools, as well as encouraging broadband providers to create additional connections to local homes.
Notes to Editors
• We delivered on our Manifesto commitment to provide superfast broadband at 24 Mbps or faster to 95 per cent of premises. (DCMS, 29 January 2018, link).
• We will deliver a broadband Universal Service Obligation to ensure the whole UK can access fast and reliable broadband by 2020. The success of the Government’s superfast broadband rollout programme will help us reach the final 5 per cent (DCMS, 9 September 2017, link).
List of schools connected already or due to be connected shortly:
Peak Forest Primary
Cheriton Fitzpaine Primary School, Highampton Community Primary School, Princetown Community Primary School, Holbeton School, Farway Church of England Primary, Filleigh Community Primary School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School
Hartpury Church of England Primary, Slimbridge Primary School, Northleach Church of England Primary School, Churchdown Parton Manor Infant School, Churchdown Parton Manor Junior School
St John's Primary, Blean Primary School, St John's CE Primary School
Horblings Browns, Wrangle Primary School, The Hackthorn Church of England Primary School, Fleet Wood Lane Primary, Fairfield Infant and Nursery School, Quadring Cowley, Dunston St Peters School, Langtoft Primary School, Louth Kidgate Primary Academy, The Hackthorn Church of England Primary School, Whaplode Primary, Sturton by Stow Primary School, Nocton Primary School, Digby CofE Primary School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Bucknall Primary School, Legsby Primary School
Banwell Primary School, East Anstey Primary School
Wardour Catholic Primary School, Lacock Church of England Primary School
Wittering Primary School
Wigley, All Saints CofE Junior School, Osmaston CofE (VC) Primary School, Stoney Middleton CofE (C) Primary School, Stretton Handley Church of England Primary School, Brailsford CofE Primary School, Peak Dale Primary School, Thornsett Primary School, Pilsley CofE Primary School, Parwich Primary School, Kilburn Junior School, Duke of Norfolk CofE Primary School, Saint Mary's Catholic Primary, Hady Primary School, Westhouses Primary School, Eureka Primary School, Stanton Primary School
St. Peter's CE Primary School, St. Michael's CE Primary School (Playden), Stonegate CE Primary School
Wivelsfield Primary School
Bromesberrow St Mary's Church of England (Aided) Primary School