Last updated: 24.12.13

Virgin extends contract to connect London schools

The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) has been working with Virgin Media Business for more than two years to bring schools across the capital improved broadband services.

Now, the partnership have decided to extend the public sector network deal for an extra £1 billion, and the new contract will run until 2028.

The two companies first joined forces in 2011 when Virgin Media Business took over an old contract between LGfL and broadband provider Synetrix, and the firm has since connected more than 2,000 schools at a third of the price of the former agreement.

As of yet, the ins and outs of the new deal have not been decided, but Virgin Media Business is set to make a full announcement in the New Year detailing the cost savings, Computer World UK reports.

The aim of the partnership is to change the way education is delivered in London schools and ensure pupils can take advantage of the benefits offered by technology, such as e-learning, video conferencing and podcasts.

Without stable and constant access to the internet, it is difficult for schools to provide students with the access they need to make use of online resources, but with high bandwidth of 100 Mbps, facilities can rely on the service being provided by Virgin Media Business.

This is not the only contract in place between LGfL and Virgin Media Business, as earlier in 2013 the companies also signed a deal for the latter to roll out Voice over IP (VoIP) technology to 2,000 London schools, which allows the institutions to take advantage of new online learning tools such as interactive whiteboards and tablets.

Brian Durrant, chief executive of the LGfL Trust, said that technology is rapidly changing the way we live and work, and empowers learning for both teachers and children.

He added: "London schools are already leading the way as a blueprint for technology in education for the UK and beyond; and the addition of Wi-Fi and VoIP to LGfL services for schools will further support that lead."