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'Unpredictable' broadband a thing of the past for Gloucestershire school

Friday, June 17th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A Gloucestershire school has put “unpredictable internet access” behind it following the installation of an ultrafast broadband connection.

Pupils and staff at St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School in Chedworth are now enjoying speeds of 50Mbps – and have the infrastructure in place to access 1Gbps.

The school is the 1,000th premises given access to ultrafast broadband as part of the second phase of the Fastershire programme, which is taking fibre to parts of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire not covered by commercial rollouts.

The project, which is being carried out by ultrafast fibre to the premises provider Gigaclear, aims to connect more than 6,500 homes and businesses by the end of 2017.

Angharad Fitch, headmistress at St Andrew’s 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.

“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.

“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 new connection, funded by a donation by local charity Chedworth Community Land Trust, means the school is now paying less per month for a faster service.

'No buffering'

Gigaclear sales and marketing director Joe Frost said: “Digital skills are a hugely important part of education today and we’re delighted to be giving children in Chedworth a big advantage when learning new computer, IT and coding 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 in the region.

“We’re now looking forward to connecting more schools in rural Gloucestershire to our world class and future-proof network.”

Councillor Paul Hodgkinson, who represents Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach on Gloucestershire County Council, 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 rollout 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.”

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