NYnet is delivering huge connectivity boost to rural schools

This story was published 8 July 2020

High-speed connectivity provider NYnet is working to deliver gigabit-capable broadband connections to more than 20 rural primary schools in North Yorkshire.

Schools broadband

Part of the Government’s commitment to improve internet infrastructure in rural and remote areas across England.

Many schools have now been connected, and many more have already signed up to the programme, with work expected to be completed over the coming months.

The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme is a multi-million pound cross-Government initiative, created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE) and local authorities. 

Those schools already connected under the programme have greatly benefitted from significantly improved broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps, and now have the capability to be further upgraded to 1Gbps in the future, should their requirements change.

During the coronavirus lockdown, schools have found they are able to utilise their new gigabit-capable broadband connections to connect teachers, pupils and parents. Significantly faster broadband speeds are enabling teachers to work remotely, access school systems, take part in video conferencing with colleagues and plan and set lessons for pupils. They are also completing online training and staying in touch with parents through email and social media. Keeping communities connected during times like this will make North Yorkshire a future-proof and modern county.

NYnet, which is wholly owned by North Yorkshire County Council, is in the process of delivering full-fibre broadband to 10 rural and remote primary schools, as part of the first phase of works, with a further six primary schools having been identified potentially to be delivered in the next phase. 

Tockwith Church of England Primary Academy is one of the schools chosen by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Education (DfE) to be part of the RGC programme. NYnet, in conjunction with North Yorkshire Education Services (NYES), has been working with Openreach to connect the school using the latest technology. 

The school is benefiting from its new gigabit-capable broadband connection, which is set to revolutionise the way they work. Other schools have reported that having faster and more reliable access to the internet has allowed staff to work more efficiently, while the children, although still geographically remote, are no longer technologically isolated and will have the same opportunities as their urban peers in preparing for a more technological future.

Justin Reeve, Head Teacher of Tockwith Primary School, said: “We are delighted to be part of the RGC programme provided by NYnet.  At Tockwith, we have always embraced technological advances, but the internet speed has always been a limiting factor for us – not any more. We currently have 165 Chromebooks in the school, so the new broadband connection will have a significant impact for us.”

Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman said: “The Government is making sure rural primary schools are among the first to be connected as part of our plans to deliver nationwide gigabit-capable broadband, and we’ve pledged a further £5 billion to bring these faster internet speeds to the hardest to reach area of the country. I’m delighted that many more pupils and teachers across North Yorkshire will soon enjoy the learning benefits that this next generation of connectivity will bring, especially during this difficult time.”

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “North Yorkshire is the country’s largest county and we regularly face the challenges of ensuring that our rural areas are not disadvantaged by their remoteness when compared with our urban centres. High-quality digital infrastructure is one of the County Council’s top priorities and we are making substantial investments in broadband and mobile telephony. That is why I warmly welcome the RGC initiative, which will bring such great benefits to some of our rural schools.”

Openreach Managing Director for Infrastructure, Kim Mears OBE, said: “We’ve been playing a leading role in connecting North Yorkshire for many years, but it’s never felt as important as it does right now. Faster, more reliable broadband is helping schools support their pupils and keep lessons going during lockdown. And once pupils are back at school it will be vital for interactive learning and developing their digital skills.”  

Acting Chief Executive of NYnet Graham Warren said: “NYnet is delighted to have facilitated the upgrade of these rural schools to an ultrafast fibre connection. We are very proud to continue providing great broadband access across North Yorkshire. Keeping our communities and schools connected during these difficult times will make North Yorkshire a future proof and modern county.”