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Virgin Media Business to Rollout Ultra-High-Speed Broadband to UK Schools

Monday, March 31st, 2014 (11:20 am) - Score 926
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Cable operator Virgin Media Business has announced that its cable and fibre optic based broadband and communications network, which since 2011 has already helped to connect more than 2,000 schools across London (here), will now be deployed across the United Kingdom as part of a new deal that could be worth £1 billion.

The deal with London Grid for Learning (LGfL), which is a consortium of local authorities and schools, means that VMB’s new IT framework will become available to 23,500 schools across the country under a scheme called TRUSTnet.

Apparently TRUSTnet, which aims to bundle ICT infrastructure, services and content into one package, will “beef up security” for students and allow teachers to do things like collect homework via the cloud, or host parents’ days via video conference.

The deal will also give many schools access to “ultra-high-speed broadband“. The original scheme offered speeds from 10Mbps (Megabits per second) and up to 10Gbps (Gigabits), which is likely to remain the same for this national deployment.

Brian Durrant, CEO of the LGfL Trust, said:

When we established the London Grid for Learning over ten years ago, we couldn’t have imagined the impact it would have in enhancing education provision in the capital region – or that we would now be making these benefits available to every school in the country. TRUSTnet creates the potential for the impact of LGfL to be felt in classrooms across the nation – not only in the services it delivers now, but by supporting innovation in schools’ ICT and attainment for learners for years to come.”

Mario DiMascio, VMB’s Executive Director, added:

Our children are growing up in a completely connected world – preparing for jobs that haven’t been invented yet – so schools must be immersed in digital technology to prepare them for life beyond the classroom. TRUSTnet make this experience possible for every single child in the country.

As the UK leads the information revolution, it is this kind of investment in the next generation that will determine our future. We already have a bigger digital economy than any other developed nation, but we must continue to lead the way in education technology if we’re to sustain this powerful competitive advantage in the global marketplace.”

The new contract is set to run until 2028 and it’s forecast that TRUSTnet could save UK schools up to £840 million over the next 3 years.

However the press release doesn’t detail how the rollout will be handled (i.e. which areas and when etc.) or what will happen in rural areas where connectivity tends to already be poor, assuming this network will even go there.

The 23,500 figure also suggests that several thousand schools have not been accounted for (depending upon how you categorise “schools”) and those are probably the remotest ones.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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