PRESS RELEASE

28 May 2019

LGFL AND VIRGIN MEDIA BUSINESS EXPAND PARTNERSHIP TO TRANSFORM DIGITAL LEARNING FOR 1.2 MILLION UK SCHOOLCHILDREN

Enhanced £50 million commitment between LGfL and Virgin Media Business will more than double the capacity of LGfL’s Ignite National Education Network and transform connectivity at thousands of schools. Additional bandwidth will allow teachers and pupils to take advantage of new technology including augmented and virtual reality, live-streaming and 1:1 pupil/device ratios.

A landmark commitment between Virgin Media Business and not-for-profit LGfL (London Grid for Learning) will deliver the UK’s fastest schools network to LGfL’s growing community of approximately 3,000 schools across the UK, it was announced today.

More than 1.2 million school children are set to benefit from improved digital classrooms and faster connection speeds as a result of the deal, which will help children develop 21st century digital skills. Accompanying investments in network security will help ensure that LGfL’s network is one of the safest in the world for schools.

Schools on LGfL’s Ignite Network can now benefit from ultrafast connections of up to 1,000Mbps at no additional cost, placing them at the forefront of UK internet connectivity. The increased bandwidth at the core and edge of LGfL’s network will enable and empower schools to bring augmented and virtual reality, live-streaming and 1:1 student/device ratios into the classroom, as well as providing access to public sector networks Govroam and Eduroam for remote working – both of which require a high bandwidth connection to operate effectively.

Under LGfL’s refreshed plans, all schools will be offered free upgrades to a minimum connection of 100Mbps (for both upload and download) with LGfL schools, on average, receiving a 200% plus boost in their bandwidth enabling hundreds of schools to increase their connection speed to 1,000Mbps. In addition, schools will be equipped with future-proof technology which can be quickly and remotely upgraded, helping save schools time and money should they wish to further boost their connection in future.

In addition to increased speeds, schools will also benefit from next generation firewalling, designed to keep them safe from hackers and other online threats. This complements LGfL’s existing range of enhanced security software including Malwarebytes, Sophos Intercept X, advanced email filtering and Meraki device management. Assistance and training is available to schools using these services.

As a charity whose mission is to ‘save schools money and keep children safe’, LGfL is committed to the advancement of education. Acting as lead negotiator for its members, the charitable trust uses its significant group purchasing power to secure groundbreaking pricing and terms on goods, services and support – effectively saving members ‘more money than they spend’ on their LGfL edtech subscription. Latest deals secured by LGfL’s purchasing initiative SmartBuy include partnerships with Adobe to provide Creative Cloud to LGfL schools, as well as Apple, Google, Sophos and Malwarebytes.

As LGfL’s long-standing connectivity partner, Virgin Media Business is committed to helping schools become digital-first institutions. Working with LGfL, Virgin Media Business provides schools with affordable access to ultrafast and resilient broadband through a virtual private network (VPN). Already effectively saving the education sector a collective £100million a year, this latest LGfL deal will see schools benefit from even greater bandwidth at no extra cost. 

Commenting on the partnership, John Jackson, CEO, LGfL said, “LGfL is determined to place UK education at the heart of digital innovation worldwide. Our strategic partnership with VMB in our Ignite Network will massively boost bandwidth for our core network along with connectivity for schools, enabling pupils and teachers to take advantage of the latest cutting-edge technology such as AR, VR and live-streaming to improve outcomes in the classroom.

“Our plans to boost bandwidth will be complemented by investments in cybersecurity, reflecting our priority to not only provide one of the fastest networks for schools but one of the safest. By providing this huge boost to UK Education at no extra cost LGfL is achieving its mission to save schools money whilst ensuring they are fully equipped for the future.”

Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Media Business, said: “By providing thousands of schools with an ultrafast, safe and secure digital platform, we’re revolutionising the classroom and giving children the tools and skills they need to thrive in the digital age. We’re delighted to build on our long-standing partnership with LGfL and use the power of technology to help more than one million school children excel everyday.”

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Notes to Editors

About LGfL Edtech Top 50 ‘mover and shaker’ LGfL is a charity, founded in 2001, committed to the advancement of education through digital innovation. Its mission is to energise teaching and learning, improve educational outcomes for its 3,000 member schools, keep their 1.2 million children safe online, tackle inequality, promote wellbeing and help its community harness the power and promise of edtech.   In 2019 LGfL was also named Supplier of the Year, not for profit at the annual Education Resource Awards.

As lead negotiator for its members, LGfL uses its consortium’s aggregated purchasing power to secure ground-breaking pricing and terms on goods, services and support – effectively saving its schools ‘more money than they spend’ on their LGfL edtech subscription, now known as the ‘Let’s Get Digital’ subscription package.

Since its inception LGfL has saved its schools over £300m through wholesale procurement as well as helping schools identify Pupil Premium Funding to improve attainment for disadvantaged learners totalling over £27m.

About Virgin Media Business

Virgin Media Business provide internet, data and telephone services to more than 50,000 UK businesses. We also partner with the public sector: with local councils and thousands of schools to improve connectivity in communities and support learning, and with the emergency services to enable them to perform their life-saving skills efficiently.

Virgin Media offers four multi award-winning services across the UK and Ireland: broadband, TV, mobile phone and landline.

Our dedicated, ultrafast network delivers the fastest widely-available broadband speeds to homes and businesses and we’re expanding this through our Project Lightning programme, which could extend our network to up to 17 million premises.

Our interactive Virgin TV service brings live TV, thousands of hours of on-demand programming and the best apps and games to customers through a set-Top box, as well as on-the-go through tablets and smartphones.

Virgin Mobile launched the world’s first virtual mobile network and offers fantastic value and innovative services with 4G connectivity. We are also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the UK and Ireland. 

Through Virgin Media Business we support entrepreneurs, businesses and the public sector, delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds and tailor-made services.

Virgin Media is part of Liberty Global, the world’s largest international TV and broadband company. Liberty Global connects 21 million customers through operations in 10 countries across Europe subscribing to 45 million TV, broadband internet and telephony services. It also serves 6 million mobile subscribers and offers WiFi service through 12 million access points across its footprint.

Media contact details

Jennifer Birt
Livewire PR
Jennifer.birt@livewirepr.com
020 8339 7443

Luke Stallard
Virgin Media Business
luke.stallard@virginmedia.co.uk
0333 000 2900