Chedworth School becomes best connected in UK

4th July 2016

Filed Under: Announcements

St. Andrew’s school is the 1,000th property in Gloucestershire to get access to ultrafast broadband as part of the Fastershire Phase 2 project.

St. Andrew’s school is the 1,000th property in Gloucestershire to get access to ultrafast broadband as part of the Fastershire Phase 2 project.

A school in the rural village of Chedworth, Gloucestershire has become the best connected in Britain following the rollout of pure fibre-to-the-premises ultrafast broadband in the region by Gigaclear, as part of the BDUK Fastershire project. The new ultrafast service means that children at St. Andrew’s Church of England Primary School now have Internet speeds of over 50Mbps, with access to speeds of up to 1Gbps – up to 30 times faster than the UK average.

Earlier this year, the school invested in brand new, state-of-the-art IT and computer technology, funded by Chedworth Community Land Trust, to support the new ultrafast service. The new improved technology will enable children to make the most of the fastest Internet speeds in the country, ensuring they are able to access the most up to date learning resources.

The school is the 1,000th premises in the region to have access to Gigaclear’s ultrafast broadband service as part of the BDUK Fastershire Phase 2 rollout. Over 6,500 homes and businesses across some of the most isolated areas of the Cotswolds are scheduled to benefit from the service by the end of 2017 as part of the project.

Angharad Fitch, Head at St. Andrew’s Church of England Primary School, said: “Before we were connected to Gigaclear’s ultrafast broadband service, our internet access was so unpredictable, we never knew if it would work. It made lesson planning almost impossible because we couldn’t rely on having internet access.”

She continues: “Now, the world is our oyster! The children are able to do online research and watch films which bring subjects to life for them while our teachers have access to the wealth of useful resources available via the internet. As a result, standards will most certainly be raised. It will enable us to offer more in the future too, such as setting online homework or contacting parents more effectively through our website. It’s really changing how the school works.”

The school now has upload speeds 80 times faster than before and 25 times faster download speeds, but its monthly bills have gone down. In a further boost to the school’s finances, the cost of its connection to Gigaclear’s network was funded through a donation from local charity Chedworth Community Land Trust.

Joe Frost, Sales and Marketing Director, said: “Digital skills are a hugely important part of education today and we’re delighted to be giving children from Chedworth and surrounds a big advantage when learning from the Internet as well as computer, and IT skills. St. Andrew’s is the very first school to benefit from the new ultrafast service through the Fastershire project and is a milestone for Gigaclear as it’s the 1,000th property we have passed with a pure fibre connection in the region. We’re now looking forward to connecting more schools in rural Gloucestershire to our world-class and future-proof network.”

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “There are many learning opportunities now available through the internet which makes access to fast and reliable broadband essential both at school and home, and Fastershire’s delivery of an ultrafast connection to more than 6,500 of the most isolated homes and businesses in the Cotswolds will have a significant impact. I’m sure the pupils and staff of St Andrews will benefit hugely now they are a part of Fastershire.”

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson, County Councillor for Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach, said: “’As a resident of the rural Cotswolds, I know how frustrating slow Internet speeds can be – particularly for small businesses and organisations. That’s why I’m delighted that the faster broadband roll out is now in full flow on the back of the campaigns some of us have fought. Now schools like St Andrews are benefitting from no buffering and the kind of speeds we could only dream of a short while ago.”