We recently used our blog to bring attention to the Connect the Classroom programme, which is being rolled out to schools that have been struggling with poor Wi-Fi. I thought it was worthwhile to remind schools in the Plymouth area that they may also benefit from a scheme to improve their internet connectivity.
Work began at the end of last year on a £2.2 million plan to deliver an ultrafast broadband network in the area. Schools were not the only recipients of the new connections, as health centres, libraries, youth centres and other public services were due to benefit too.
Plymouth City Council worked with NHS Devon Care Commissioning Group, the University Hospitals NHS Trust, West Devon Borough Council and South Hams District Council and Delt Shared Services Ltd to secure a £2.2 million grant from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for the project with the aim of delivering full fibre broadband connections capable of 1Gbps download speeds.
Mill Ford School was the first school in Plymouth to benefit from the Plymouth and SW Devon Local Fast Fibre Network (LFFN) scheme, with 28 other schools due to come online too.
With such gigabit speeds at their disposal, schools can enjoy quick access to web-based services for more satisfying teaching and learning. Admin staff and management also benefit from the extra speed offered by full fibre and the option it presents to use productivity-boosting cloud solutions, such as web filtering, security and backup solutions, SIMS, Microsoft Teams, hosted phone systems and more.
As a small caveat, it is also worth remembering that full fibre is still broadband so there are often no service level agreements attached to these connections and services can be contended.
On a brighter note, many of these same schools may also be in line for Connect the Classroom funding to boost their Wi-Fi provision. There is no point having an ultrafast internet connection if ageing Wi-Fi access points are failing and are incompatible with modern wireless devices. When it comes to bandwidth per pound of budget they are very attractive.
Both the LFFN and Connect the Classroom schemes highlight the importance of connectivity for schools, and any other organisation or business for that matter, as less IT services and data are held on-site servers and our reliance on cloud services continues to grow. If our access to these are then thwarted by slow connections or ineffective performance or coverage, then productivity will dip and frustration will increase.
If your school or business wants to investigate their internet and Wi-Fi options, and what cloud services you can use to boost productivity, please do not hesitate to contact us.