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LGfL plans new high speed broadband network for London schools


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Broadband fibre and ethernet cable on keyboard
Image source: Chetroni

Education technology charity the National Grid for Learning (LGfL) is planning to set up a new multi-gigabit broadband network for schools in London.

It said it is working with internet service provider Community Fibre to install the network over the next five years.

It has begun the roll out with the aim of providing back-up internet services to 500 sites this year. This will involve a 100% full fibre installation into each school, which LGfL said uses 70% less energy than copper lines, which makes it future proof energy efficient.

The organisation has purchased access fibre and said it can now deliver speeds of up to 10 Gbps for the majority of schools. It intends to provide many with a free upgrade over the year.

The full roll out will be phased over the next two to three years with schools connected as they come within reach of the Community Fibre network. The pace will depend on how quickly they can adopt resilient lines.

Community programme

LGfL and Community Fibre will also work together on the broadband provider’s Community Investment Programme to provide free 1Gbps connections for community led initiatives and free digital skills training for Londoners. So far 580 connections have been installed.

LGfL’s CEO John Jackson said: “The unique partnership with Community Fibre enables LGfL to install a second, diversely routed fibre connection into schools delivering a level of unrivalled resilience which is now critical given the dependence of a modern curriculum on continuously available internet access. Unplanned outages severely disrupt schools and lessons.”

Supporting teaching

London’s chief digital officer Theo Blackwell commented: "This initiative will provide hundreds of London schools with full fibre connections, supporting teaching and learning. 

“It goes hand in hand with our efforts to promote investment in gigabit connectivity to homes, businesses and public buildings - up from only 4% in 2017 to 89% today.  Better digital access is a priority for the mayor and an important part of making a better London for everyone." 

LGfL added that it is aiming to secure strategic alliances with other telecoms providers to roll out a multi-gigabit network nationwide.

In rural areas without existing internet connectivity it will offer Starlink, a satellite constellation that uses low Earth orbit to deliver high speed broadband.

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