Benenden’s new internet equipment is a UK school first

BT Openreach and Benenden School signing the contract at Benenden School Benenden School has become the first school in the country to have its own high-speed fibre broadband exchange installed.

A new unit – about the size of a domestic boiler – has been installed at the School. It means that instead of relying on the nearest public exchange, where the greater distance a site is from the exchange the slower its internet connection, Benenden now has its own exchange. This will increase internet speeds by five times and ensure a more reliable internet system for the School.

The move is part of BT’s Community Fibre Partnership, which up to now has been primarily focused on housing developments, business and universities. Benenden is the first school to have the equipment installed by Openreach, the part of BT that provides the network infrastructure.

Headmistress Samantha Price said: “We are delighted to be the first school in the UK to install this technology. We are committed to preparing girls for the modern workplace and that means ensuring that the environment here matches the fast-paced, digitally-connected world.

“I have to admit I don’t quite understand all the details of this new equipment but our girls here are extremely digitally-aware so I’m sure they can tell me all about it!”

Wade Nash, Benenden’s Head of IT Services, said: “As a 24/7 school, we are a community in our own right and our reliance on the Internet has increased substantially in recent years – from teaching in classrooms, to cloud-based email services for students and for use by staff and their families who live on site.

“Although we already have robust internet connectivity we have invested in this new exchange to further increase the resilience of what has become a critical service. It will also enable us to keep ahead of the curve as the data requirements of the school continue to expand.”

Stacey King, BT Regional Director for South East England, said: “It's great to see how Benenden has grasped the opportunity which Community Fibre Partnership offers to those areas which are out of scope for fibre deployment.

“Benenden has shown that by working with BT it is possible to find an innovative and future-proof solution, which meets the needs of the community it serves. As Regional Director for the South East of England I'm looking forward to seeing more local groups coming forward to work with us to provide fibre in the region."


Picture captions:

  • The group shot shows, l-r Eddie Snooks, Bespoke Network Team Member; Wade Nash, Head of IT Services at Benenden School, Stacey King, BT Regional Director for South East England, and Chris Barker, Bespoke Network Team Leader
  • The other picture shows Wade Nash, Head of IT Services at Benenden School, with the newly-installed exchange at Benenden School

Notes to Editors

  • Opened in 1923, Benenden is one of Britain’s leading boarding schools. It is a girls’ boarding school in Benenden in the heart of the Kentish Weald. It is the only full-boarding girls’ school in the country (I.e. there is no day or weekly boarding).
  • For more media information contact Ian Read on 01580 236734 or [email protected]