Award Success for Pioneering Pennine Project

Pennine Telecom proved to be top of the class when a pioneering project for a secondary school won it a prestigious business award.

The telecoms and data specialist was presented with the Innovation, Design and Technology Award at the fifth annual Bolton and Bury Business Awards. The trophy recognised the company’s groundbreaking work in designing and implementing the first wireless home broadband network to be launched by an English state school. Created for Broad Oak Sports College the network – dubbed Net@BOSC – aims to bridge the ‘digital divide’ by providing around 1,000 student households with a free, commercial standard broadband service.

Having received the award at a glitzy ceremony hosted by BBC presenter Dianne Oxberry at the Reebok Stadium’s luxury White’s hotel, Pennine’s managing director Andrew Roberts said: “I’m delighted, not just that Pennine’s wireless expertise has been acknowledged, but also the dynamic, proactive approach to tackling the digital divide taken by Broad Oak and Bury Council which co-funded Net@BOSC. The latest technology has been successfully harnessed to deliver great social benefit in a truly cost effective manner.”

The seeds for Net@BOSC were sown after research by the school revealed that 40% of students lacked home broadband, stifling their access to e-learning tools and educational resources. A school owned and managed network was seen as an effective long term solution but to create it Pennine first had to overcome significant technical challenges. The school is located in a dense urban area comprising mostly social housing estates and private terraces, creating issues for wireless signal transmission. Following desk and full physical surveys Pennine designed a network of multiple Motorola point-to-multipoint wireless backhaul links and 50 Motorola wireless mesh access points located on and powered by street lights.

Success at the Bolton and Bury Awards was complemented by Pennine also reaching the finals of the Best Public Sector Project at Blue Chip Award which were held on the same night. Net@BOSC has also been shortlisted for the Federation of Communication Services Industry’s Innovation in Business Radio Award.

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