Press release

New funding for colleges to improve broadband infrastructure

Matthew Hancock announces programme to drive through improvements to broadband infrastructure and provision for further education colleges.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Skills Minister Matthew Hancock will today (19 November 2013) announce a new programme to drive through improvements to broadband infrastructure and provision for further education colleges.

Colleges will receive new funding to install second broadband connections with help to make the most effective use of existing provision, including upgrades to bandwidth.

Speaking at the Association of Colleges (AoC) 2013 conference, Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said:

Colleges that embrace the latest technologies can revolutionise the services they offer to students and business. This new funding to improve broadband infrastructure will provide colleges with greater resilience and improved broadband speed.

As many as 8 out of 10 colleges are relying on a single connection, for both their operational and teaching needs – including cloud-based applications and online business.

It’s easy to imagine what happens if that connection goes down, that’s why I’m allocating extra funds to allow colleges to install a second broadband connection - giving them greater ability to operate and support their students with the latest technology 24/7.

Following consultation with the AoC and Jisc - an organisation that champions the use of digital technologies in education, technology provision and capability has been identified as a top priority. As many as 8 in 10 colleges are relying on a single broadband connection and maybe unaware of the impact this could have if the connection fails. Under the programme colleges will also be supported with help and advice from Jisc on how to make best use of existing bandwidth.

Further information on the scope and timetable of the programme will be announced shortly.

Notes to editors

  1. The programme will provide for the installation and testing of a second broadband connection, plus advice and support (from Jisc) on how to make best use of existing provision including possible upgrades to bandwidth.

  2. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 19 November 2013