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Welsh Government Criticised for Poor Broadband at 28 Primary Schools

Friday, January 6th, 2017 (8:53 am) - Score 345
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The Welsh Government has come under fire after it was revealed that 28 primary schools in Wales, most of which exist in rural areas, suffer from such poor connectivity that they struggle to access the required online learning resources. One School described it as a “a form of rural deprivation“.

The main challenge here is that most of the related schools exist in areas where local connectivity is poor, which means that connecting them to a fast broadband or dedicated leased line connection can often attract high excess construction costs. Not so easy for smaller rural schools to afford.

Under the current policy Secondary schools in Wales are supposed to gain access to a minimum connection speed of 100Mbps (Megabits per second), while smaller primary and special schools should gain a much slower but still useful 10Mbps capable solution.

The 28 Schools (Locations)
6 in Powys
6 in Carmarthenshire
4 in Ceredigion
4 in Conwy
3 in Gwynedd
2 in Denbighshire
1 in Wrexham
1 in Flintshire
1 in Anglesey

However in fairness the Welsh Government did recently announce a further commitment of ‘up to’ £80 million to help roll-out “fast reliable broadband” to “every property” in Wales by 2020 (here) and shortly after that they confirmed that another £5 million had been set aside specifically to help upgrade broadband at 400 Schools across Wales (here).

A Spokesman for the Welsh Education Secretary said (BBC):

“With 28 schools still needing improvement, we recognise there is more to do. Which is why we have also just announced an additional £5m to enable all schools to have access to superfast broadband and ensure they have the infrastructure needed to prepare pupils for the modern world.

We are working closely with the respective local authorities to ensure all 28 schools affected will have increased broadband services to support the digital competence framework by end of March this year.”

We should point out that these problems are by no means unique to Wales, with other parts of England and Scotland also suffering from some similar issues. Mercifully the on-going roll-out is helping to reduce the issue with each passing year, but that’s little consolation if you’re one of those still waiting to benefit.

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Mark Jackson
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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