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Schools: Broadband

Question for Department for Education

UIN 226555, tabled on 27 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of schools in (a) Wallasey, (b) Wirral and (c) Merseyside with internet speeds of (i) less than 10 Mbps, (ii) between 10 and 30 Mbps and (iii) over 30 Mbps.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

6 March 2019

The Government recognises the importance of broadband infrastructure for schools. The Department is working with industry and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to accelerate the full fibre internet connectivity rollout to all schools. In addition to this, The Department is supporting those schools most in need[1], which will not otherwise receive a timely upgrade through commercial routes. Hundreds of schools have been identified where connectivity will be accelerated by funding a new full fibre connection over the next two years, bringing schools, local communities and businesses onto an ultrafast, full fibre connection. As a result, fewer than 10 state funded mainstream schools in Merseyside are in areas that cannot guarantee connection speeds of over 30Mbps[2]. The numbers for Wirral and Wallasey are even lower and so harder to reliably estimate.

The Department will be publishing an Education Technology strategy in the Spring, which will include how schools are being supported to overcome the barrier of internet connectivity to harness the opportunities of technology.

[1] As announced in the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-telecoms-infrastructure-review, the market alone is unlikely to support network deployment in the final c.10% of premises.

[2] https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/infrastructure-research/connected-nations-2018.

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