30 January 2023

Bispham primary school benefits from ultra-fast 10 Gigabit broadband

Bispham Endowed Church of England Primary School is reaping the rewards of high-tech, ultra fast broadband as part of local plans to improve internet speeds in Blackpool.

Alfie Jack Turner and Isaac Smith from Bispham Endowed Primary on laptops
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The school is the first in the area to benefit from full fibre 10 Gigabit broadband, with the internet speed an impressive 500 times faster than the previous connection.

The full fibre internet connection provides full reliability and high speed rather than the previous intermittent and slow connection.

The upgrade is a result of a multi-million-pound investment that will deliver the fastest, most resilient broadband internet connection on the market to sites across Blackpool.

Blackpool Council secured £3.5m of government funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in 2018, which was utilised to launch the Fibre Blackpool initiative.

The grant was used to expand a shared fibre infrastructure into Blackpool town centre and along the length of the coast’s tramline and connect the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone and Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone.

Old copper lines were replaced with fibre optic cables along the route of the trams.

Fibre Blackpool is a co-operative project, with public and private sector organisations sharing resources to expand a Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN).

The upgraded broadband internet connection is also due to co-operative working with telecommunications companies, TNP and CityFibre who are both members of the Cooperative Network Infrastructure (CNI).

A major telecoms company, AQL, has also joined the CNI fibre co-operative and set up a presence in Blackpool.

The lighting fast 10 Gigabit broadband went live at Bispham Endowed Church of England Primary School earlier this month with staff and pupils from the school instantly noticing the difference. The school is potentially the first primary school in England to have this speed of connection.

Michelle Warburton, Headteacher at Bispham Endowed Church of England Primary School, said that the upgraded broadband service had strengthened the connection across the whole school.

Michelle said: 

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“I am absolutely delighted to be the first school in this project to receive a 10 Gigabit fibre connection. “This has made a difference to the school already! Staff and pupils are amazed at the speed of the connection. “Downloads and resources to enhance and support teaching and learning can now be accessed instantly to support our curriculum offer. The connection 'future-proofs' our school for many years to come and we are now excited to be able to develop and strengthen our current IT provision. “A donation of computers for our IT suite from the University of Central Lancashire has been greatly received to initiate our advancement in this area.”
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The council has been able to upgrade the broadband service to a number of council sites and schools under the Fibre Blackpool service.

A number of other Bispham schools will benefit in the coming weeks with ambitions to rollout the new model of 10 Gigabit connectivity to more public sector sites including schools, the NHS and council buildings during the next 12 months.

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, said:

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“Improving digital connectivity and providing high speed, reliable internet for our schools is crucial, which is why I’m delighted to hear that the Fibre Blackpool project has transformed the connection speeds at Bispham Endowed Church of England Primary School. “It’s a huge leap forward in terms of capability, enabling the school to enhance their teaching and learning and bringing them up-to-date with the latest technologies. Fast, reliable connectivity is vital in today’s classrooms and gigabit broadband will deliver this. “The Fibre Blackpool initiative will enable more local schools, businesses and residents on the Fylde Coast to benefit from the fastest, most reliable internet in the country. “Blackpool’s connectivity puts it at a major advantage compared to other UK locations. Plans are in place to capitalise on the town being at the forefront of new generation digital connectivity, creating jobs and strengthening the local economy.”