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Northumberland UK to Build Gigabit Broadband for 18 Schools

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 (12:28 pm) - Score 608
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The Northumberland County Council look set to approve an investment of £537,000 via the Government’s £200m Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme, which will help 18 additional primary schools in rural parts of the county to get an “ultrafast gigabit capable” broadband ISP connection installed.

Some of the schools on this list were already announced as being among the first to benefit last year (here and here), although most of them are new additions.

One obvious bonus of this investment is that the surrounding premises in these communities, particularly any that currently lack access to ultrafast speeds, may also benefit by enabling future ISPs to harness the new fibre to connect local homes and businesses (via additional investment).

Overall 18 primary schools across Northumberland were selected using a variety of criteria, which considers rurality, location and commerciality (see document).

Council Report

The primary aim is to connect the selected rural primary schools to an ultrafast gigabit capable connection. This will provide the schools with the capability to receive anywhere up to 1,000 Mbps download speed service to their building.

The move to a gigabit fibre connection would improve the connectivity to the school, access to online resources and save time through more efficient ways of working.

The connection would also potentially benefit surrounding communities with the fibre infrastructure installed making future build costs cheaper for the area. Select nearby buildings would also benefit from the installation if they are connected to the same infrastructure.

The costs that are being covered by the DfE are for a new fibre cable to be installed into each school. This can be very expensive to do under normal circumstances and is the main barrier to access faster connections. Rural locations are usually the most expensive to install these cables so the selected schools will benefit greatly

The Service charges and line rental will continue to be paid by the School and not funded by DfE.

A final decision will be taken at a cabinet meeting on 8th September next week, but approval of the plan is virtually guaranteed. Sadly, the document doesn’t mentioned a time-scale for the related deployment.

The 18 Primary Schools

Tranche 1 (11 schools):
– Abbeyfields First School,
– Acomb First School,
– Cambo First School,
– Cambois Primary School,
– Henshaw CofE Primary School,
– Hipsburn Primary School,
– New Hartley First School
– St Michael’s CofE Primary School,
– Tweedmouth Prior Park First School,
– Whitley Chapel CofE First School,
– Wylam First School.

Tranche 2 (7 schools):
– Ellingham CofE Aided Primary School,
– Kielder Community First School,
– Ringway Primary School,
– Seaton Delaval First School,
– Seghill First School,
– Shilbottle Primary School,
– St Paul’s RC VA Primary School (Alnwick).

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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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8 Responses
  1. Avatar Jonathan says:

    I would say there is some corruption going on in the list of schools getting help. There is no way on this earth that Wylam is “rural”. Seriously you have got to be having a laugh. Yet Newbrough which is what you would describe as rural doesn’t get any help. To make matters worse the BT Wholesale checker shows that Wylam first School can get native FTTP on a one stage install. Where Newbrough is stuck on FTTC though they can get a full 80/20 FTTC. Perhaps Broomley First School on a 52/10 would have been a better choice.

    1. Avatar Ben says:

      I’d be interested to see if the FTTP availability for Wylam is a database error as I’ve got family and friends who live in Wylam itself and as far as I know there isn’t any FTTP in the area (nor is any planned) as of 2020.

      Could potentially be an FoD installation, but I would have thought that could have made it available to at least some of the properties nearby. That also wouldn’t add up if the contract goes to BT (which it likely will I would imagine).

    2. Avatar Jonathan says:

      My guess is that Wylam paid for FTTPoD at some point and are now claiming the money back. A bit of further investigation shows only the school can get it, but that does not surprise me, just means it is the old property fed from a distribution poll.

      There is however something fishy going on, and the rubberstamping is now likely to be questioned. I think I will have to put some mark I eyeballs on the place next week when I am back “home”.

    3. Avatar NGA for all says:

      Jonathan, at 93.7% why are Northumberland not finishing rural areas? BT owes a lot of money for this. Capital Deferral £788m. Rural Schools should have been planned and picked up as part of rural work. It was in the requirements and money available to do it.

    4. Avatar Jonathan says:

      I would also add what about giving some money to B4RN for Allendale Primary School? They have a project to cover the Allen valley. I am sure a bit of cash would persuade them to come into the edge of Allendale Town for the Primary School. You might even be able to persuade them to cover some of the Haydon Bridge schools. They have experience of going under rivers now 🙂

    5. Avatar Jonathan says:

      Dam for no editing. Looks like B4RN have a cabinet at the Allendale Primary School. I guess they don’t need money for a connection 🙂


  2. Avatar Jonathan says:

    Meant also to say as almost all of those schools are on Northumblernads costal plain. Yeah that’s as fishy as hell.

  3. Avatar John Popham says:

    Good to see this kind of approach being used, only 9 years after we mapped out how to do it at the Fibre Walk https://wp.me/ppLRZ-d3n

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