Description / Explanation
The educational authority of Hainaut is boosting connectivity through a unique digital campus which provides similar services to all schools and education centres (e.g. eduroam, govroam, free Wi-Fi networks, security access, educational platforms and access to the academic network). It relies on a hybrid solution combining optical fibre from Belnet (10Gbps symmetric) and black fibre from Sofico to connect the main sites throughout the region (with a point-to-point or multi-point radio terrestrial network) and feed all the peripheral schools. The province still counts many white and grey areas in terms of high speed connectivity and some relay-antenna sites are using high points (such as water towers or public buildings) to provide a clear point-to-point connection.
01/01/2014 to 31/12/2017
Project submitted by
Campus Numérique Provinciale du Hainaut
+32 (0) 475 975 240
Infrastructure & Service
Speed / performance
Infrastructure, technology and architecture
Broadband network of Belnet and dark fibers of SOFICO. Radio antenna of Radwin, DragonWave, SAF Integra, Intracom, Siklu using several frequency bandwidth according to the distance and expected service (in agreement with the national regulator, IBPT).
Cost structure and financing sources
The funding came the Province Authority (regional body). Since all the public high schools (and many others) are managed under one single authority (the Province) in Hainaut, it was easier to centralise the system and its operation, and provide the same services to all sites. As each school used to pay a fee to their ISP and telecom operator (from EUR 400 to EUR 5000 per year), the Digital Campus offered them to stop paying it and assign their annual budget for Telecom to this project. This way, the school do not pay anything more than their previous annual budget (Provincial funds anyway), and contribute to a centralised solution that provides the similar services to all schools. Because of their previous contract with their ISP, some school did not have access to e.g. WiFi, or a very limited bandwidth and no access to other services. But thanks to the centralised solution of the Digital Campus, all school regardless of their size and number of students benefit from all the services, plus a centralised security system that none had before (investment of EUR 50 000 per year). All school are on the same level of services, with a very secured high speed connectivity, and a free WiFi within all of them.
Actors involved and their roles
A team of passionate technicians decided to develop their own network, since the national providers could not offer them an acceptable connectivity at an affordable cost. Then, the Provincial Authority funded the project to provide the best possible service to their education network. The development of this network was also possible thanks to the SOFICO, the regional infrastructure authority and its high capacity broadband network and backbone access rented by the Province of Hainaut, and to the existing broadband network and services of Belnet.
It’s a "bottom-up" project, started by a team of teachers in a technical high school to provide a state-to-the-art high capacity network to all public high schools in this region at a very reasonable cost. Its funding is also unique, as the project was funded by existing budgets of schools for their ISPs and telecom operators. By reallocating these budgets to this centralised project, no additional funding from the Province was needed.
A full coverage of the all province was achieved, with the high quality and security network, managed by the Campus. The network is not only providing services to the public education, but also now to many other local and regional authorities, a police school in Jurbise, the health department of the province, to Hainaut Formation, and to Hainaut Développement (a provincial service to private businesses).