Ditcham Park School and the local community have become the first UK community to benefit from a BT grant scheme aimed at bringing superfast fibre broadband to parts of the country which are hard-to-reach.
Due to its rural setting, Ditcham Park has always nursed very low broadband speeds. This has held the school back from developing some cloud services and various other newer technologies. Previous speeds were between 5 and 6Mbps shared between all the pupils leading to some very slow internet searching.
However, we are delighted to announce that these frustrating days are behind us as we have now installed a superfast BT Infinity fibre line into the school, which boasts speeds up of to 330mbps.
This would not have been possible without the hard work and negotiating skills of local entrepreneur and Ditcham resident Chris Taee. Chris has liaised with Openreach, BT’s local network business, and with local families and land owners within the community who have allowed trenching and cable laying across their property to make this dream become a reality.
Kim Mears, Managing Director of infrastructure at Openreach, said: “Getting faster speeds to communities in the final few percent of the UK is a top priority for Openreach and the people of Ditcham are pioneering a new way to achieve this.”
Chris, said: “We’re delighted with the grant that BT and Openreach has awarded our community – it will be revolutionary for us all.” Particular thanks to Tim, Wendy and John Wolfe, Goodrowes contractors and PRC landscapes.
Network manager, Mat Mitas said, “This is really going to develop teaching and learning at Ditcham, which is going to be of great benefit for all of our pupils.” Teachers are also excited about the new opportunities the superfast connection will bring as Ditcham looks forward to developing its online technologies and moving towards a very exciting IT phase for the school.
Head Teacher Rob Connolly was equally enthusiastic, he said: “This new technology will provide a leap in digital services that will benefit every single member of the school community, pupils, parents, staff and visitors. We are all hugely grateful to Chis Taee, one of our fantastic parents who has made this possible. The future is incredibly bright!”
BT has informed us that the new scheme is available to those communities in the so-called “final five per cent” of the country not covered by any private or publicly funded fibre broadband rollout plans. Eligible communities can apply for match funding of up to £20,000 towards the cost of a new local fibre network as long as the technology is capable of serving the local school.
We understand that more than a hundred communities across the country have already signed up to BT’s co-funded Community Fibre Partnerships scheme, with many already enjoying the benefits of superfast broadband. They hope that the availability of these new grants will encourage even more communities to work with BT on bringing high-speed connectivity to their town or village.”