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Home page News 2012 Superfast, Secure Broadband Supports Learning In Hampshire Schools

Superfast, Secure Broadband Supports Learning In Hampshire Schools

Hampshire schools are enjoying 21st century fibre optic broadband thanks to Hampshire County Council's HPSN2 public services network.

The new Hampshire Public Services Network (HPSN2) is a shared service that provides secure data, voice, text and video services to public sector organisations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The £90million development project is the first of its kind and the biggest public sector collaborative procurement initiative to date in the County.

Offered in partnership with Virgin Media Business, HPSN2 is a national leader in public service networks; delivering to the highest government standards of security. It now gives fast and secure internet access to schools and education centres across Hampshire, regardless of their location – whether urban or rural.

99% of Hampshire schools have opted to join HPSN2: from small primary schools to the largest academies. They enjoy business-class bandwidth up to 100Mbps with a range of optional flexible services such as mobile telephony and additional bandwidth.

Making the internet safer for schools

All HPSN2 schools have access to Flexible Web Filtering service at no extra cost. With Flexible Web Filtering, each school has access to a simple web management tool which allows them to decide which websites they can and cannot access. This allows schools to take control of the internet in their own classrooms, tailoring access to support innovative and engaging learning.

All HPSN2 schools (regardless of whether they use Flexible Web Filtering) enjoy SafeSearch protection; a system offered by most of the leading internet search providers such as Google and Bing. It allows users to tailor their internet search experience to filter out results that may not be age-appropriate (for example, when searching for images on the internet). With HPSN2, SafeSearch is always enabled for these leading search providers at its strictest setting.

Supporting learning across Hampshire

Having rolled out HPSN2 across Hampshire, ahead of schedule and within budget, the underspend is being reinvested into the service, giving primary schools even greater bandwidth than originally planned. HPSN2 is now also being offered to other local authorities.

Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, said: "The fact that almost every school in Hampshire has chosen to join HPSN2 is an impressive achievement. As the internet is increasingly used by pupils to support learning, and by schools to access more and more services online, it is vital that we support them by offering an internet service that is fast, cost-effective, reliable and safe. HPSN2 gives schools control over the websites and online services that they need, in order to make education richer, more rewarding, and more fun.”

HPSN2 is designed to enable mobile and flexible working for the public sector from teachers to emergency services workers. The project aimed to cut operating costs and HPSN2’s project team began by installing an IP Virtual Private Network infrastructure to bring together local councils, agencies and emergency services networks over a single connection. Thousands of staff now have real-time access to critical applications and information from any location at any time.

There are also plans to set up wireless hotspots around the county to support mobile workers, including social care teams. The network will also enable each partner organisation to choose the bandwidth and service options they need to achieve tasks specific to them.

When developing Flexible Web Filtering, Hampshire County Council built upon an industry-leading product to develop a bespoke solution for Hampshire schools. Schools can opt to use this service or continue to use the existing filtering policies managed by the County Council.