2,000 schools are set to benefit from a brand new Wi-Fi service and Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, thanks to the success of a Public Services Network project designed and delivered by London Grid for Learning (LGfL) and Virgin Media Business.
LGfL launched the London Public Services Network (LondonPSN) in partnership with Virgin Media Business in 2011. Capable of saving schools around £100 million each year , the PSN replaced LGfL’s legacy network and provided a secure, super-fast infrastructure and shared framework over which other public sector organisations could procure new technology services, for less.
The first priority was the roll out of high speed connectivity, making better internet services available to over a million students in the capital. Now, LGfL has begun offering highly secure Wi-Fi and VoIP over the same core network. Just recently, an announcement by the E-Learning Foundation stated that limited access to Wi-Fi in UK schools was preventing children from taking advantage of digital learning tools. LGfL is bucking the trend and setting about creating a blueprint for the rest of the UK to follow.
Schools can simply purchase the required number of wireless access points they need and share the technology that is centrally hosted in the core of the LGfL network. This means that they can run a managed wireless service at a fraction of the price of a stand-alone service. By installing VoIP schools will reduce their on-going telephony spend and will also benefit from completely free calls to other school sites on the system.
These new services will underpin the ability of schools to take full advantage of new e-learning tools like tablets, interactive whiteboards and educational podcasts, and provide teachers with the tools they need to inspire the next generation of young professionals.
"LGfL has an established track record in supporting schools which aim to transform learning and raise attainment through the effective use of new technologies," said Brian Durrant, chief executive of the London Grid for Learning Trust. “Technology is radically changing the way we live and work, and increasingly empowers the way that teachers teach and children learn. These latest service offerings are another milestone in LGfL’s history, enabled by the new LGfL 2.0 network which is already facilitating the delivery of a richer learning experience to children across the capital region.“
LGfL also has a comprehensive and ever expanding portfolio of unique learning resources created in partnership with organisations such as the Royal Collection Trust, the Museum of London and Imperial College. ”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.” Durrant continued.
Jeff Wollen, executive director of public sector at Virgin Media Business said; “LondonPSN has already delivered some exciting technology to schools throughout London. High-speed internet services are underpinning the delivery of some exciting classroom technology and the PSN is at the heart of how the public sector in London will procure the best technology at an affordable price. Sharing services isn’t just about reducing costs and improving services, but allowing different departments and organisations to use technology to work together, more effectively.”
 Buss, C (2010) Report on the value for money of the London Grid for Learning, Wandsworth Council