Connectivity: What’s next for “superfast broadband”?

In this series we are going to look at the changing landscape of “Superfast Broadband”.

But before we look ahead, it’s worth casting our mind back to remind ourselves of how far we've come.

Less than 4 years ago, many schools were still connected to Local Authority networks. Subsidised by Local Government, the existing technology meant schools were still making do with connection speeds of just 2Mb per second.

Fast forward 4 years and Superfast broadband has transformed the use of technology for many across the UK.

Although Superfast broadband is widely available there is a large disparity in performance, depending on where you are.

What is Superfast and why can’t everyone get it?

Superfast broadband is defined as a connection with download speeds of 24Mb or above. More often than not, it is provided by a Fibre to the cabinet solution (FTTC).

Fibre optic cables deliver fibre to BT street cabinets across the UK. From that point you play a postcode lottery.

On the whole premises are connected to these cabinets by copper based technology. The length and quality of the copper will determine the actual speed of the broadband. So although a service might be capable of 80Mbs may only deliver 10Mbs (not “superfast”).

Thinking about the larger picture, 10Mbs is better than 2Mbs, so it's come a long way. But is it good enough? With technology evolving and broadband usage increasing by 40% year on year, what's next?

Live streaming, the cloud, webinars, video conferencing, gaming, the list is endless. The rise of Multi Academy Trusts and Federations means schools demand better connectivity.

If you are one of the lucky ones, not only able to access superfast, but with good speeds, you’re, probably, laughing. A low cost, high speed, resilient service. But what if you’re not? What are your options?

To help with this, over the coming weeks we will be publishing a series of articles detailing the changing landscape of Broadband and what this means for schools. Starting with "What does it all mean? A low down on the techy terms and what that actually means for connectivity. You can also view our Schools Internet Service page.

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