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East Midlands Broadband Consortium (EMBC) Thread, EMBC Schools in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); Just read a few replies on this posts and people are wondering that if the schools are not with RBC ...
  1. #16

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    Just read a few replies on this posts and people are wondering that if the schools are not with RBC they will not have access to video conferencing outside NEN? well in that case what happends when a school on a NEN has links with schools in other countries ??? say your school has links with another school in japan for example and they offering video conferencing either parties will need to initiate a connection (VC). I think people are jumping to conclusion on HOW NEN will work when we haven't even got the thing working correctly and not many schools are using it either so you can't possibly work out what it will and will not allow.

    NEN will be flexible - have to be really because will they deny a school acces to say VC session with another school non it NEN or in another country?? i doubt NEN will extend on the japan's school network

    Ashok.

  2. #17

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    VC within the NE is based around one school or institute initiating the service and allowing others to connect irregardless of their connection.

    We are about to start doing some VC stuff via the EMBC but technically we can't becuase we don't have a line yet ...

    But thankfully, those helpful folks at the Learning Discovery Centre in Northampton can initiate it for us and we even have a few accounts courtesy of them too.

    WRT NTL becoming accredited ... they are only slightly further along than they were 2 1/2 years ago when they said the same thing to encourage form INS/EDEX customers to join them ... I wouldn't say that I am holding my breath ... but ...

    I suppose the main difference with us wanting to join an RBC is that we are not doing it just for the connection ... we want some of the content, we want an area to help with collaboration between us and partner schools. I know we could host these areas, but then that adds onto our workload ... and if it is with another school and their guys/gals are busy and we need to get something sorted then it cause problems.

    I'll take your comments into account ashok in my guidance notes on EMBC.

    If you could also PM me with what things are costing you with NTL?

  3. #18

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    @ashok: sounds like it went well- thanks for the details. One of the things that Tony has addressed is "content", and I know my Systems Manager and I discussed this during the past month or so as a major downside of EMBC. But it depends what you want from a broadband provider. I think primarily they have to be reliable and fast, and that content isn't king.

    Why is that? Because by definition what they do is provide a broadband connection for the school. The content is "out there". The only people I've heard complain about lack of content are the IT staff! lol! The students aren't interested with the EMBC page- they want "out there" where the real content is.

    Thanks for the summary of your experiences though ashock!

    @Tony: I think collaboration is a good idea, and having some kind of collaborative content is of course a great idea. What makes you think that EMBC will offer a decent level of collaborative tooling or content though? Have they said anything about this aspect of their bid?

    Thanks.

    Paul

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    Tony,

    I'll send you a PM with the relevant info.

    Few things about the content, we have a portal setup (no hosting at school no no hassle of backup restore manintaince etc) which allows content to be placed on it in a organised way, by class groups, subjects etc. What is good about this is that it allows other schools to view the content as well and we have around 3 schools who will be connecting to it so we can collaborate.

    If you guys want to check it out here's the link:

    http://www.school-portal.co.uk/Group...?GroupID=21501

    When we went with NTL and away from from EMBC we did really think it through and to be honest the service was not good enough and they were not meeting the SLAs. I'm not saying that they will not improve I think they will but what suprises me is that the strategies used by goverment to the RBCs. It seems that there is no consistency between RBCs across the whole UK, some RBCs do things differently than others. i.e. there is no standard way of delivering the service to schools for all RBCs - now i do understand that there will be sometimes technical limitations but even the processes are not consistent. i.e. some RBCs allow more public IPs say and some are really really restrictive.

    Tony if you could put the above issues to EMBC it may aid in getting the service to be improved or at least get their attention i suppose.


    HTH,

    Ashok.

  5. #20

    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Re: EMBC Schools

    @ashok

    :-) You should have been there the first phone conversation I had with Mike Kendall ... it was partly based on the service I had seen in other schools but it went along the lines of refusing to join due to "constant faults that are only ever described as intermittent and are poorly logged, a restrictive structure that hides behind guidelines set out by Becta as an excuse not to allow schools more flexibility, a poor interface that puts off even the most evangelical of ICT users and connectivity that is worse that using free AOL accounts."

    Since then I have spoken with people like Andy Murphy a lot ... the change of provider (notes of guidance and explanation should be up by the end of today) should give schools more power to say "get it sorted", even if we keep the status quo and remain with Fujitsu ... it will still be a new contract and will have to be negotiated.

    EMBC are claiming that no school has left, and technically that is probably true ... even though you are now with NTL you still have a line vai EMBC, but it is unused.

    I'll raise the above issues and see what their response is ... I may even point the Service Manager of dotICT in this direction so he can give his views directly ... it's about time his team realised that people can get support from elsewhere too.

  6. #21

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    here goes first edugeek bullitin has gone live see here http://www.edugeek.net/index.php?nam...article&sid=68

    the news story contains download to pdf file

    comments views etc

    Russ

  7. #22

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    @Tony:

    "Since then I have spoken with people like Andy Murphy a lot"

    Did you get baffled with science then? ;-)

    Paul

  8. #23

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    Give Andy his due, he does explain things in detail. I do have a number of issues that I want to chase up with Becta first, and then check things with other RBCs to see if it is just an "EMBC thing" situation.

    I know that RBCs vary from region to region, and Becta are happy with that because it means that lots of different things are tried. I still feel that it is based around technology and politics, and quite often they are one and the same ... "no, my solution is better than yours because it comes in a blue box!!!"

    Just out of interest have any other EMBC users here actually looked at the policies and procedures stuff before? I have asked about some of this stuff before and never managed to get hold of it, but finally have been pointed in the right direction by Andy ...

    I presume there are similar documents from other RBCs ... is it possible for others to check if these are publically available and if I can have copies to look through?

  9. #24

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    oh yes always take ponder around webview every so often....

    Russ

  10. #25

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box
    I'm glad we in the North West (Lancashire and Cumbria) don't have the problems you face. We created our own ISP and own all of our own equipment. All of our high schools are an a minimum of 11Mbps, most on 50+ Mbps and some in cabled areas on 100 Mbps. There are no multiple levels of contracts, no third party contractors doing support, and by the sounds of it no problems such as those you face.
    Our responsability ends where the connection arrives at the school. Everything in the school is their responsability and they are free to do whatever they want within their schools and any requests for ecxtra services or facilities are passed directly by them to us to see what we can do. We keep all of our schools informed by making sure that eveyone knows our numbers and who is responsable for what. I wish you the best of luck in getting the service you need.

    This is the kind of setup that woulod suite schools best and you guys are very lucky in the north. The main here is the flexibility and at the same time realiabilty of important service ie.. net access. Because of having less layer of heirarchy in support, things get done quicker and response is much quicker.

    The issue that many RBCs face is that the RBCs need to rely on many suppliers i.e EMBC uses BT, Kingston, Fujitsu, Synterix and probably others and this creates lots of issues as to who deals with the queries and how that is communicated through these providers. Cutting down a supplier and created less dependency on many suppliers may be the answer. If a county or LEAs are bidding for services from one suppler i'm sure then the suppliers will drop the prices as wholesale kind of thing and the LEAs and schools will still benifit.

    Just out of interest Dos_Box do schools recieve the discount or some sort of payment (full or part) for their internet services?

    I had a chat with the Public sector director at NTL and he said that Becta about 2 years ago put such a restrictions or demanded things that was not easy to implement quicker for NTL - one of the thing that he said was that surf control software that NTL put forward for filtering was not good enough for Becta and this is reason NTL cancelled their accreditation bid for Becta accreditation. They are going to do this again soon as now Becta are saying that this would be fine. Aparently Surf Control approched Becta explained a few things to them interesting

    Can't believe surf control is not good enough come on its better than NetSweeper

    Anyway i'll keep you posted on what is happening with NTL.

    Hope this helps in putting together some document that could be passed onto the relevant people are EMBC and other RBCs.

    Ashok.

    Ashok.

  11. #26
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    Re: EMBC Schools

    Were not on 11 meg, we get about 2 at best from our dish

  12. #27

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    Luxury ... when I wert lad we had nothin' but 2 old tin cans a length of string.

    Then we grew up and sold it to C&W and became dotcom millionaires!

    (sorry ... couldn't resist!)

  13. #28

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    @Ashok. Our pricing comes directly from the schools budget, and not one part of our setup is profit making. Our service providers (both support and network) are either local govt or university based .

    @ChrisH. Are you sure? we are having problems wth our firewall at the moment which may account for perceived speed problems.

  14. #29

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    Re: EMBC Schools

    ChrisH is in a lovely hilly area

    Ours works nice and fast

  15. #30
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    Re: EMBC Schools

    Yes we are next to pendle hill on a 22 meg wireless link which is bounced of all and sundry d/l speeds are at the 2 meg level mostly with the odd freakish higher d/l rate. Tis very slow.

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