Wirral primary school pupils first to benefit from LCR Connect’s top of the class full-fibre broadband

  • Mayor Steve Rotheram’s full-fibre network transforming business and schools’ access to ultrafast gigabit capable full-fibre broadband

  • Connectivity enhancing children’s learning experience

  • Mayor Rotheram said: “We’re putting our communities at the cutting edge of digital connectivity with state-of-the-art infrastructure.”

School children attending Church Drive Primary School on the Wirral have had their ‘learning experience enriched creating a myriad of opportunities’ according to their headteacher, Joanna Jones.

Church Drive in Bebington is the first school in the Liverpool City Region to benefit from a full fibre connection delivered by LCR Connect – a new 212km digital network that is capable of delivering the fastest internet speeds in the country.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:

“The world around us is changing faster than ever and I want to ensure that we keep up – LCR Connect is helping us to do that.

“We’re putting our communities at the cutting edge of digital connectivity with state-of-the-art infrastructure that will give them access to the fastest internet speeds in the entire country. It’s helping to attract new jobs, businesses and investment into the region and, best of all, LCR Connect is half-owned by the us, which means that we can continue to pump the returns back into the local economy and reap the benefits for years to come.

“We’re already seeing the massive difference it’s making to local schools – but this is just the tip of the iceberg – our infrastructure will eventually link to our universities, to our hospitals, to our public spaces, and to residential homes across the city region helping to deliver better public services too. It’s a big step towards my ambition of making our region the most digitally connected place in the country – where no one is left behind.”

A man with a group of schoolchildren sitting around him smile at the camera holding certificates

Mayor Steve Rotheram pictured with children from Church Drive Primary School.

LCR Connect is a joint venture led by Mayor Steve Rotheram, between the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which owns 50% of the venture, alongside ITS Technology Group, and NGE, who are delivering the full fibre network that is being built across the six local authority areas of the Liverpool City Region.

The network, which is on track to be completed by the middle of this year, is designed to significantly improve connectivity for businesses and will support internet access for schools, and other organisations, making the city region among the best-connected areas of the UK.

One of seven schools that form Oak Trees Multi-Academy Trust, Church Drive Primary is achieving 100Mbps speeds through its broadband connection, nearly three times faster than the service it has replaced for download and more than ten times faster for the upload. This ultrafast service is being delivered and managed by local IT service providers Hi-Impact and Exa Networks.

Joanna Jones, headteacher at Church Drive Primary School said:

“As a school, we are very keen to make the best use of technology to enhance and improve the learning opportunities for our children. Access to a fast, reliable internet connection has now become a vital part of the curriculum. This new broadband service has transformed the enjoyment and ease of access to the many online resources and opportunities that enrich the day-to-day learning of our children. It also means that our teaching staff no longer have to implement ‘plan B’ which was a regular occurrence when our old broadband service couldn’t keep up with demand. Added to this, the children can now make effective use of the laptops and tablets that were generously donated to the school during the COVID-19 lockdowns.”

Councillor Ian Maher, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Digital Connectivity and Inclusion, said:

“Digital connectivity is an increasingly important factor in education and it is really exciting to see our local schools signing up to and benefitting from LCR Connect, our own ultrafast full-fibre network.  I look forward to seeing many more schools and colleges signing up and enjoying the benefits of exceptional connectivity, alongside our local businesses.”

Claire Delahunty, joint venture partner ITS Technology Group’s ambassador for LCR Connect said:

“Connecting Church Drive Primary School to LCR Connect is a significant milestone for this substantial infrastructure project. It is the first of many schools and colleges set to benefit across the Liverpool City Region. Safe access to a high-speed internet connection is supporting these pupils in their education, in learning key digital skills that will set them up for life, and will hopefully be inspiring and nurturing some of the STEM superstars of the future too.”

Mark Cowgill, Co-founder and Commercial Director, Exa Networks said:

“Demand for fast, reliable broadband services has increased significantly in recent years, and has been accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic. LCR Connect is an exciting project which is totally reshaping how IT services can be accessed. The gigabit-capable services it provides are helping schools and businesses across the city region to access online services and applications. It is making a change for good.”

Alan Thompson, Managing Director of education IT specialist Hi-Impact said:

“We are proud to look after the IT needs of more than 100 schools across the city region including Church Drive Primary School. We understand the pressures and challenges of poor connectivity and how it can disrupt and undermine engagement in the classroom. Church Drive Primary School’s previous online experience was not fit for purpose because of the lack of access to full fibre infrastructure in the Liverpool City Region – that is why this new network is so exciting for schools. LCR Connect provides a cost effective broadband connection that can scale with the needs of the school, which is so important when already squeezed budgets are having to stretch further.”

LCR Connect is on track to be completed this year. It is designed to underpin economic growth, innovation, inward investment, and job creation. In fact, experts estimate that, with 100% gigabit-capable fibre coverage across the city region, the economic boost could be worth up to £1bn, creating thousands of local job and training opportunities.

Organisations and businesses across the city region are invited to register their interest in connecting to the network by visiting Network Build | LCR Connect

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