12/16/2002 - East Midlands Broadband Consortium (EMBC), reinforced its commitment to connect all 2,219 of its schools to a managed educational broadband network by 2006. This will provide students across the East Midlands with access to media-rich digital learning resources and opportunities through a Managed Learning Environment, as well as full Internet access.
The target will be achieved by extending the existing contract with Fujitsu Services to connect an additional 450 schools by March 2003. The network is now also being broadened to include libraries, learning centres and Community Centres as well as serving the wider eGovernment and eCitizen agenda of getting all government services online by 2005.
The service will provide 750,000 students and teachers with access to online curriculum content and learning opportunities. Students and teachers will be able to access their personal learning folders from anywhere in the region that is networked by broadband, as well as access out of school, in the home and elsewhere with direct access over the internet. Fujitsu is working with nine local authorities in the region to pool their resources and roll out the networking program, worth £37 million over a 5 year period, from 2001 to 2005. Due to the efficiencies obtained from working together, the EMBC are on target for goals that have been set by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and expect to meet Government targets on time and within budget.
Fujitsu formed the EMBC suppliers consortium with Synetrix, Kingston Communications and Ramesys to enable the region to deliver a high performance, broadband network capable of supporting learning needs across the East Midland's Region. By joining together and forming strategic alliances with commercial organisations, local authorities such as those in the East Midlands can achieve and exceed targets quicker, thus benefiting their citizens.
Mike Kendall, chair of EMBC steering group and principal adviser for Northamptonshire County Council commented, "The East Midlands Broadband Consortium has been extremely successful and expects to exceed all the goals we have set. Key to this achievement are the partnerships formed with the commercial organisations. Working as a consortium will benefit the whole region as we continue to take this project forward and seek opportunities to expand broadband access to the EMBC Learning Platform into residential properties. This will ensure parents and children will have access to the curriculum from their homes."
Mark Horne, business manager for Fujitsu Services, commented, "This network is a benchmark for public and private sector partnerships. It allows the consortia to use economies of scale to deliver better services to schools and local education authorities at a lower cost than other procurement routes. EMBC has embraced the consortium business model of pooling resources and the efficiencies gained are visible."
Fujitsu has led the project, from the initial designing of the network grid through to its implementation and the integration of the different IT components. Helpdesk services are also provided by Fujitsu to ensure ease of use for end users. Anyone on the network has access to the helpdesk.
Initial Phase of EMBC
The initial phase saw 445 schools, including the majority of secondary schools in the area enabled with broadband by August 2002. In addition, 100 libraries, learning centres, and local authorities have also been added to the broadband network. As an interim stage, before the provision of broadband, 650 schools have received ISDN2 which will enable them to benefit from access to the East Midland's managed education network. Phase II will see another 445 schools installed with broadband. Students and teachers in schools connected to the EM broadband network are now able to access their personal learning folders from anywhere that is networked - schools, libraries and in their homes via the internet.
The East Midlands Broadband Consortium has been formed by the 9 local education authorities in the East Midlands with a mission to develop the East Midlands Managed Learning Network to deliver better value access to multimedia learning for their schools and learning communities. The East Midlands Broadband Consortium aims to promote the development of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) systems and services in East Midlands by providing:
The EMBC continually monitors technological advances and seeks to implement them, where these are appropriate and affordable.
Local Authorities that are part of EMBC are Derbyshire, Derby City, Leicestershire, Leicester City, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham City, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.
About Fujitsu Services
Fujitsu Services provides a full range of services and products to help organisations prepare for Chip & PIN implementation, including consultancy, solutions, integration, support and staff training. Fujitsu Services is one of the leading IT services companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa. It has an annual turnover of £2.4 billion (€3.9 billion), employs 15,500 people and operates in over 30 countries. It designs, builds and operates IT systems and services for customers in the financial services, telecoms, retail, utilities and government markets. Its core strength is the delivery of IT infrastructure management and outsourcing across desktop, networking and data centre environments, together with a full range of related services, from infrastructure consulting through integration and deployment.
Headquartered in London, Fujitsu Services is the European-centred IT services arm of the Fujitsu Group. The Fujitsu Group is a $38 billion (about €43 billion) leader in customer-focused IT systems and services for the global marketplace. Prior to April 2002 Fujitsu Services operated as ICL. Website: www.services.fujitsu.com
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