Broadband internet standards for schools and colleges

17 October 2022

Broadband internet standards overview  

This post is part of our series on the DfE’s Technology Standards and covers the standards for broadband internet in schools and colleges. 

The internet connection in schools and colleges is vital to enable all departments to function. This includes a vast array of services including online teaching resources, MIS systems, email services, cloud-hosted services and files, IP phone systems, catering systems, CCTV systems and many more. 

Summary of recommended standards from the DfE 

The DfE make a number of recommendations relating to the capacity and speed of your internet connection. The outline of these recommendations is below: 

  • Use a full fibre connection for broadband services 
  • Have a backup broadband connection to ensure resilience and maintain continuity of service 
  • Have appropriate IT security and safeguarding systems in place, under both child and data protection legislation 

When should you meet the standards? 

You should already be meeting standards relating to safeguarding legislation. Standards for your internet connection should be implemented as soon as possible, usually at the end of the existing contract. If full fibre is not available for your school or college, your next contract extension should provide the opportunity to change to full fibre services as soon as they become available. Resilient connections should be implemented when possible, usually alongside a contract renewal. 

How should you meet the standards? 

You should ask your service provider or in-house support team to investigate the availability of full fibre broadband services and the options for the provision of a resilient connection. 

Technical details of the standards 

Technical details are provided that make specific recommendations relating to your broadband internet services. These should be considered by your IT service provider or in-house team: 

  • Primary schools should have at least 100Mbps download speed 30Mbps upload speed 
  • Secondary schools, all-through schools and FE should have at least 1Gbps download and upload speed 
  • Broadband should be provided using a full fibre connection, such as a leased line or FTTP 
  • Resilient links should use multiple broadband connection services of different service types 
  • Resilient links should use multiple routers and provide automatic failover  
  • Redundant power options on core active network equipment should be installed 
  • Content filtering system must meet the requirements of the online safety section of keeping children safe in education 
  • You should ensure that you have a firewall as part of your internet and network system, either premises or an edge service provided and managed by your ISP or in-house team 

Related Standards 

The speed of the internet connection that is delivered to each device on your network is dependent on the internal network cabling and switches, as well as the internal network equipment such as routers and wireless access points. See our related posts in this series: 

Implementing the standards 

Implementation of these standards is reliant on having a full fibre connection available, which may not be the case for some schools, especially those in rural areas. You should speak to your service provider or in-house team to plan and implement the recommended changes. 

Read the standards in detail 

You can find the DfE’s standards in full by following the link: Broadband internet standards for schools and colleges

How we can help 

We offer a vendor-neutral approach to Internet services, with access to all major broadband and connectivity providers. Working with schools since 2004, our technical expertise combined with our knowledge of safeguarding legislation and content filtering, allows us to help schools and colleges meet the standards for internet provision and online connectivity. 

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