Birch Copse Primary School - the first completed under the project

Full Fibre for Schools project

The £1.7m project funded by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP through the Government’s Getting Building Fund, is being led by West Berkshire Council, to deliver the full fibre rollout.

The project is made up of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the six Local Authorities. It will improve digital infrastructure across the region, helping to keep local people and businesses connected.

It will lead to improved connectivity at more than 80 locations, with more than 26,000 school pupils able to benefit from future-proof full fibre connections. 

Covid-19 has led to schools dramatically accelerating their digital learning programmes, which has caused challenges in harder to reach rural areas. Full fibre infrastructure will support digital learning and can power the next-generation of connected services. For schools and other public sites, it offers the potential for them to benefit from gigabit speeds, and can support connections of more than 1,000Mbps.

The fibre infrastructure will bring essential connectivity to schools across Berkshire, enhancing lessons, online training, cloud services and educational tools. It will enable schools to become digital community hubs and aid adult education and re-skilling. Communities living near the upgraded schools, such as GP surgeries and libraries, will also have their infrastructure boosted thanks to the contract.

The first 15 sites started to be connected in January 2022 with further sites added later in the year. 

Alison Webster, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP added:

“The pandemic has demonstrated that schools and communities need to be equipped with the latest technology; it’s not a nice to have but is vital to our prosperity. The rollout of full fibre will not only keep our communities connected during times like this but also future-proof  Berkshire’s economy ensuring out capacity to attract and retain cutting edge businesses from across the Digital sector to Life Sciences and the emerging Film and TV production sector clusters. We’re delighted be playing a leading role alongside our partners in connecting Berkshire which has never felt as important as it does right now.”

Councillor Gerry Clark, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity, said:

"Fast digital connectivity is important to our residents and businesses and supports education and healthcare provision. Increasing the availability of these services is a key objective, and I am therefore delighted that through the Digital Infrastructure Group, funding has been secured to enable a number of schools and surgeries within the Royal Borough to benefit from new fast fibre connections".

Mike Smith, Director of Large Enterprise and Public Sector at Virgin Media O2 Business said:

“This investment will bring next-generation connectivity to across Berkshire and help the region to thrive. With so many schools being connected, young people are set to benefit from the infrastructure they need to get ahead in the digital era.”

We are working with Virgin Media O2 and there partners to complete this project:

Virgin Media O2 Business

John Henry Group

"The new infrastructure will help the children see technology at it's best.

It'll mean that Assembley's, even on Zoom, can go back to being in real time rather than pre-recorded and viewed from the server.

For me, it's about transforming the use of technology in school, for pupils and staff, so that it becomes as relied on as other utilities, such as electricity or gas."

John Micklewhite, Head Teacher, Birch Copse Primary School

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