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Schools: Broadband

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of UK schools with internet speeds of (a) less than 10 Mbps, (b) between 10 and 30 Mbps and (c) over 30 Mbps.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

According to data from Ofcom[1], there are at least 200 schools in areas that cannot receive connection speeds of over 10Mbps, and 500[2] schools in areas that cannot receive connection speeds of over 30Mbps.

The Department recognises the importance of broadband infrastructure for schools. The Department is working with industry and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to accelerate the full fibre internet connectivity rollout to all schools. In addition to this, the Department is supporting those schools most in need[3] that would not otherwise receive a timely upgrade through commercial routes. The Department has therefore identified hundreds of schools where connectivity will be accelerated by funding a new full fibre connection over the next two years, bringing schools, local communities and businesses onto an ultrafast, full fibre connection.

The Department will be publishing the Education Technology Strategy in the spring, which will include how schools are being supported to overcome the barrier of internet connectivity to harness the opportunities of technology.

[1] https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/infrastructure-research/connected-nations-2018. This data refers only to schools in England.

[2] The 500 schools include the 200 schools that are in areas that cannot receive connection speeds of over 10Mbps.

[3] As announced in the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, the market alone is unlikely to support network deployment in the final c.10% of premises. The review can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-telecoms-infrastructure-review.

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