Community Fibre

London Grid for Learning enrols Community Fibre to connectivity curriculum

London-based charitable trust taps community broadband provider for backup connectivity in part of wider strategy to deliver ‘world-class’ digital infrastructure to children in London

As part of its stated ambition to provide schools with faster, more reliable fibre broadband support, the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) has entered into a partnership with gigabit broadband provider Community Fibre to provide backup secondary connectivity to schools across London.

LGfL describes itself as a charitable trust whose mission is the advancement of education. It has a number of specified key aims: saving schools money; keeping children safe; tackling inequality; energising teaching and learning; and promoting well-being.

The organisation said that since 2014, it has identified more than £120m in potential funding for free school meals, and has provided schools with licences worth more than £11m per annum as part of their broadband subscription. LGfL also said it has delivered some of the world’s biggest implementations of cloud platforms.

Owned by funds advised by Warburg Pincus LLC, DTCP Railpen and NDIF, Community Fibre claims to be the UK capital’s largest 100% full-fibre broadband provider.

The altnet’s initial £400m funding in 2020, followed by a finance facility of £985m closed in October 2022, is enabling the company to fulfil its plan to roll out a full-fibre broadband network to 2.2 million London homes by the end of 2024. The provider has expanded its network footprint by as much as 75% over the past 12 months, and claims to have firmly established itself as a faster, more sustainable and more affordable broadband provider. More than a million residential properties are now able to connect to its gigabit broadband services.

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, and is designed to provide free digital skills training for Londoners and support community-led initiatives through sponsorship. The move to bolster network support for schools in London follows guidance from the Department of Education.

“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,” said LGfL CEO John Jackson. “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.”

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The five-year agreement will see Community Fibre supply schools with fibre broadband technology. The partnership has already begun its roll-out, and will aim to provide backup internet service to 500 sites this year, with each school serviced with a 100% full-fibre installation.

“This initiative will provide hundreds of London schools with full-fibre connections, supporting teaching and learning,” said Theo Blackwell, chief digital officer at the London Assembly.

“It goes hand in hand with our efforts to promote investment in gigabit connectivity to homes, businesses and public buildings – up from only 4% in 2017 to 89% today. Better digital access is a priority for the Mayor, and an important part of making a better London for everyone.”

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