The starting gun has been fired on a programme to rollout gigabit-capable full fibre broadband to the most rural and remote locations in the UK.
Last summer, the Government identified that approximately 10 per cent of UK premises, largely in rural and remote areas, would be unlikely to receive gigabit-capable connections commercially by 2033.
An “Outside In” approach is being taken to make sure rural areas are not disadvantaged in the race for full fibre broadband. This new approach will help ensure that the identified 10 per cent of premises are reached at the same time as the commercial rollout happens across the UK.
The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme is the first step of this approach.
DCMS Secretary of State Jeremy Wright said:
Our decision to tackle some of the hardest to reach places first is a significant shift in Government policy and will be instrumental in delivering our plans for a nationwide full fibre broadband network by 2033. Our rollout of superfast broadband transformed the UK’s digital landscape, and our modern Industrial Strategy is focused on investing in the infrastructure that will make Britain fit for the future.
RGC is a two year, £200 million UK-wide programme focused on rural areas. Government has initially prioritised sites in Cornwall, Cumbria, Northumberland and Pembrokeshire.
The RGC Programme will trial a model connecting local hubs in rural areas, starting with primary schools. Working with the Department for Education, DCMS has identified the first 31 schools eligible for a connection under the scheme. These new speeds will enable whole classes to simultaneously surf the internet on tablets as part of structured lessons, and gives schools easier access to online training and educational learning.
Access to cloud services not only means savings as staff go paperless but will also allow the decommissioning of the school’s local servers to reduce hardware, maintenance and IT support costs.
Other public buildings will then be added throughout the course of the programme, for example, health sites and community halls.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
In most parts of the country a fast, reliable internet connection is taken for granted – but that is not the case for everyone. This programme will mean that schools in these areas won’t be held back from accessing all of the opportunities the internet has to offer. These first schools will see the tangible benefits that fast broadband has to offer, from reducing teacher and staff workload, to improving access to high-quality learning resources.
Rural Affairs Minister Lord Gardiner said:
This funding will make sure that rural businesses, homes and communities can get online and make the most of the opportunities digital connectivity provides. I am determined to champion rural communities and drive forward full fibre broadband connections in the most hard to reach areas across the UK, helping to ensure no one living in our countryside is left behind.
Schools in Cornwall to benefit
Blisland Primary Academy
Braddock C of E Primary School
Calstock Community Primary School
Darite Primary Academy
Delaware Primary Academy
Grade-Ruan C of E School
Mevagissey Community Primary School
Sithney Community Primary School
St Erme with Trispen Community Primary School
St Kew Atlantic Centre of Excellence Academy
Madron Daniel (previously St Maddern’s) C of E School
St Mellion C of E Voluntary Aided School
St Mewan Community Primary School
St Winnow C of E School
Trannack Primary School
Trythall Community Primary School
Wendron C of E Primary School
Werrington Community Primary School