Brownlow Primary School children with representatives from Openreach, BT, Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire County Council all stood around broadband cube board game with Openreach van in background

Youngsters up to speed with superfast broadband


Primary school children in Melton have become the first in the county to trial a new learning resource which explains how fibre broadband works.

Brownlow Primary School children with Openreach, Tom Purnell (Assistant Chief Executive at Leicestershire County Council) and Superfast Leicestershire project team members.

The new learning tool, known as ‘the interactive cube’, was developed by Leicestershire County Council’s Superfast Leicestershire team to broaden the knowledge of youngsters around science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills.

A group of Year 6 pupils at Brownlow Primary School in Melton spent the day learning how fibre broadband travels from their local telephone exchange into their homes, enabling them to safely use the internet for learning, as well as enjoying popular apps such as YouTube and Netflix.

Through building their own fibre broadband network and connecting all the towns and villages, children can learn about the engineering behind the delivery and installation of fibre broadband.

 This event is a great opportunity for children to learn the technical detail behind fibre broadband. The interactive cube is a real asset to the Superfast Leicestershire team and demonstrates the importance of supporting children and encouraging them to take an interest in science and technology so they’re prepared for what the future brings.

Openreach engineer Nick Woodward also spoke to the children about his role. He said: “It was great to spend time with the children and Brownlow. They are of a generation that is able to do more online than any before them, and you can only imagine the possibilities as they get older. We may have even inspired an engineer of the future.”

At the school, Leicestershire Police were also involved in advising the pupils about the safety aspects of using broadband. The force is at the forefront of the drive to raise awareness of the dangers of living in an increasingly digital world.

Brownlow head Damien Turrell said: “It was great for the school to work with Superfast Leicestershire and give the pupils an opportunity to learn the technical side of something they use every day and how to use it responsibly.  The whole day was something which year 6 will not forget and it’s thanks to the county council, Openreach and Leicestershire police.”

The new interactive learning cube features a magnetic surface which is designed to look like a map of a local village. Buildings that are familiar to children such as libraries and shops have been included alongside homes, farms and telephone exchange points so they can see how the main fibre network or spine is so important to the project.

Information on how it all works is included on the sides, along with an information key and a suggested game to play.
Superfast Leicestershire is playing a leading role in making faster broadband available in rural areas – already reaching more than 70,000 homes and businesses across the county since the first broadband cabinet went live in 2014.

More than 94 per cent of premises across the Melton district now have access to superfast broadband. A typical Melton home, covered by the Superfast Leicestershire programme, can now download a HD YouTube clip in less than eight seconds, compared to around two minutes previously. A two-hour HD movie can be downloaded in four minutes compared to around an hour.

The most recent parts of Leicestershire to benefit from superfast fibre broadband include Gumley, Sapcote, and Barton-in-the-Beans, which is getting a fibre connection for the very first time.

Anyone who would like to host their own broadband event can get in touch with the Superfast Leicestershire team by email at . For more information about the programme search #SuperfastLeics on Twitter for the latest updates.

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