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ISP Community Fibre to Supply London Schools with a Full Fibre Backup

Tuesday, Feb 20th, 2024 (9:12 am) - Score 1,960
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Network operator and UK ISP CommunityFibre, which has deployed a 10Gbps capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across a big chunk of London and some surrounding areas, has today announced a new 5-year deal with the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) to supply schools with a “back-up” full fibre broadband service.

At present the LGfL already works alongside Virgin Media Business (VMO2) to supply ultrafast broadband to c.3,000 schools in London (over 1.2 million children), thus the new deal with CommunityFibre is instead focused on providing “back-up secondary connectivity to schools across the capital.” Such a high level of full fibre resilience at the physical layer is rarely seen at this level in the public sector.

NOTE: In 2019, LGfL also bought the “National Grid for Learning” trademark as part of its plan to expand broadband connectivity into more UK schools and public authorities.

The rollout of the new network has already begun and will aim to provide a back-up internet service to 500 sites this year. Each school will thus be serviced with a 100% full fibre installation, which is said to use “70% less energy than traditional copper, making it a future-proof, energy efficient and sustainable solution“.

As part of the agreement, LGfL and Community Fibre will also explore new initiatives as part of the broadband provider’s community investment programme, which has connected more than 580 community spaces to date with a free 1Gbps full fibre connection, provides free digital skills training for Londoners and supports community-led initiatives through sponsorship.

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre, said:

“We’re delighted that the LGfL-The National Grid for Learning has appointed Community Fibre to provide London schools with fibre support. Stable and reliable connectivity is vital for teachers and school children across the capital, and we’re thrilled to roll out our 100% full fibre network to each location using the UK’s most reliable broadband technology.”

John Jackson, CEO of LGfL, said:

“LGfL’s investment in Community Fibre is part of a wider strategy to deliver world class digital infrastructure to children in London that is fast, secure and highly resilient. There are very few cities in the world that are delivering diversely routed, high speed fibre into schools to minimise disruption and maximise the potential of internet-based learning.”

The operator, which also owns Box Broadband – a similar network that targets Surrey and West Sussex in England (here), has already rolled out their network to over 1 million homes and 212,000 businesses in London by the end of July 2023 (we haven’t had any recent updates). CF were also aiming to reach 2.2m by the end of 2024, but that target is likely to suffer after last year’s job cuts and build pause (here).

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
4 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Lewis says:

    As someone who works in IT in the Education sector and support a lot of LGfL based schools… this is surprising news. Their partnership with Virgin Media business has provided essentially all LGfL schools with Full Fibre for some time at this point. Bandwidth offered by LGfL is also very good as well and quite generous. They have recently (over the past 1 year) had a couple of outages caused by capacity which they quickly rectified.

    LGfL provide such good value for schools it’s genuinely hard to compete with them. I do wonder if this is a way for LGfL to evaluate maybe using both providers moving forward to provide primary connections across the country via their NGfL branding?

    1. Avatar photo Jonny says:

      I wonder if this is to demonstrate that they can wholesale over their network with a ready to go customer that almost 1:1 matches their deployed footprint? It’s a guess but I can’t see LGfL just plugging a CF connection into the managed router at a school location, they will want to be using their own IP space and getting all the traffic back into their network.

      CF being able to show public sector customers that they can be their backup layer 2 service is a sensible level to pitch at.

  2. Avatar photo Pete says:

    Although LGFL bang on about what good value their bundle proposition is, it really isn’t. Strip it back and schools are paying over the odds for connectivity and generally not using the additional services they include which ultimately all schools are actually paying for

    Lot’s of schools have left to other providers and will continue to do so. Their latest set of accounts shows a loss bar a one of pension benefit.

    LGFL should cease to exist and leave it to the commercial sector as per most of the other council and regional broadband consortia’s now have.

  3. Avatar photo Ben says:

    I’m selfishly hoping this might increase our chances of them wiring up our road. We have a school opposite, and are only just outside the CF footprint.

    (I realise they’ve paused building, but would make sense for when they start again)

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