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East Midlands Broadband Consortium (EMBC) Thread, EMBC - whether to move away or not? in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); Brpilot: what I'm getting at is that you, as a school, will be WHOLLY responsible should something be allowed to ...
  1. #31

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Brpilot: what I'm getting at is that you, as a school, will be WHOLLY responsible should something be allowed to be viewed in school that shouldn't do. No filtering system is perfect and kids will always find a way - and they'll find it quicker than any of us can close it. With that responsibility, when something goes wrong rather than you being able to say you took reasonable precautions, people will be getting sacked. Bare minimum you *need* is IWF filtering at the ISP's end.

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    Yes I completly agree about safety ... but what about all of the schools that are using smoothwall already ... are you saying that this product does not do the job? I'm sure there will be lots out there that are now worried as to the smoothwall system they have in place ...
    When it was around BECTA approved smoothwall and indeed the swgfl are offering it as a product .

  3. #33
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    Just to add into the mix on the pricing - which only applies to Derbyshire, but then I can see a other Derbyshire primaries on this thread.

    The current subsidy on the embc services will be going, however DCC are hoping to give each school some kind of rebate on a yearly basis on their costs for connectivity and applications. No word on how much this is going to be yet, but it's on good authority from the Deputy Head of Finance at DCC. The big question mark is how much money are they going to have to do this .... because it's coming from the same budget as the money for upgrading the current network and unbundling more exchanges. So it's kind of dependent on how many schools sign up onto the Kcom service as to how much will be in the pot to provide rebates to schools.

    We haven't even been able to get a price out of Kcom yet for the connectivity. But it seems to be the norm that schools will be expected to sign up for a 4-year contract with them.

  4. #34

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Of course Smoothie is a very decent product and yes it will do the job nicely - in fact a fair few of the suppliers are using/rebadging Smoothies for their ISP end filtering. The difference is simple, if something goes wrong normally you can put your hands up and say yes, it's gotten through our filters, but it also got through the ISP's filters. If official investigations go ahead, then you will be seen to have taken necessary precaution. If you're entirely on your own with no ISP end filtering, you don't have that safety blanket. Yes you're still obviously taking precaution but unless you're spending the time with your filter personally adding to it every week or more often (do you have time?) and can prove you have been, and it is your responsibilty, at the very least you will be very seriously disciplined and part of an investigation you wouldn't want against your name. Not just you obviously, your HT, your SLT, anyone involved in child safety and decision making regarding filtering and esafety. It's a worst case scenario of course, but is it really worth that risk? The majority of secondaries don't have the time to watch their filters that much and the majority will also have the fallback of their ISP and IWF lists being constantly updated.

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    Yes I see where you are coming from ... so its better to have 2 filtering products in place rather than just one. But surely if you just have for example the swgfl's service thats just one?
    I had assumed that the smoothwall solution does its own updating? Maybe I'm wrong there .. Anybody out there that can enlighten me?
    How does that effect the folks that use non lea services without filtering and rely on thier smoothwall box to provide the filtering? Or do all other ISPs other than Virgin provide a level of filtering?

    I guess its down to the ability to pass the buck if anything goes wrong! My view if is we provide a Becta and SWGFL approved solution and if anything gets through then I point the finger at the filtering provider.

  6. #36

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Yes there's a lot of buck passing and when you know you're doing your job well, you don't want the buck stopping with you.
    A majority of primaries will have quite rightly been using just their current provider for filtering and should something have happened, the buck would at least partially have stopped there and not at you, assuming you were also doing other things properly (i.e. safety precautions should a child stumble across something nasty; Hector Protect is a good example of such a policy), as after all not many primaries can afford their own filtering system nor the time to look after it. Yes, many of them will update themselves, but they update themselves based on other people's findings and what they think is best. There may be sites specific to your area, school or speciality that are extremely unsuitable for viewing for whatever reason so you also need to have control, either locally or by phoning your provider. It's just not just amount. It's a balance between making sure responsibility is in the right places and most importantly of all that the children are protected as much as possible.

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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    It shouldn't be forgotten that those within embc/emPSN now still have multiple providers really. We have a BT fibre line, comms supported by KCOM, services supported by Synetrix, with embc as the glue that binds them altogether. All that's really happening now is that we're being given a chance to contract directly with these providers whilst still remaining within emPSN. It wouldn't be ideal to have a filter not supported by the ISP, unless you were taking responsibility for that filtering yourselves - spread the services too much and support could become a problem. Many of us have been sheilded from the real cost of Broadband by both the government and LA grants (we discovered that big time last year when becoming an academy) so now the real work begins in finding the most suitable, most cost-effective solution. RM have seen an opportunity and have pounced on it. It's now up to the likes of KCOM and Capita to respond accordingly.

  8. #38

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    @TonyJF and don't forget that for most of you there is the LA behind the scenes doing some stuff for most schools ... the amount will vary from LA to LA and school to school.

    If people would like to have a really good chat about filtering and responsibilities then they should have a chat with their Local Safeguarding Children's Board, and whilst I know some will say that the eSafety advisor in an LA person they are good about trying to explain the risks ... remembering that in EMBC land a number of schools have already been having the conversations about filtering as they have had Local Control for some time or asked for it and what it entails.

    There are good and bad points to locally hosted filters and to centrally hosted filters. Is this the sort of thing people want to know more about? What fits in where and how it integrates?

    Out of interest, has anyone ever asked OFSTED and DfE for a complete list of legislation that affects schools and their use of tech, including safeguarding? If we are talking about knowing where the buck stops then perhaps you need to know the legislation too. And before I get another email about saying I am talking FUD ... surely this applies whether you are with EMBC or otherwise. Remember that some of the other providers are offering central filters and you can get local filters on the EMBC framework.

  9. #39

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Well the trouble is, in this game the buck never stops but blame does. Hence needing to make sure bases are covered. No need to go overboard but make sure the school itself is covered and that they're not likely to blame and sack you as the point of responsibility!

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Well the trouble is, in this game the buck never stops but blame does. Hence needing to make sure bases are covered. No need to go overboard but make sure the school itself is covered and that they're not likely to blame and sack you as the point of responsibility!
    Indeed - covering yourself by keeping written records, mails, etc is a must. But also, it depends on whether you actively recommend a specific option or simply make the options available to your management team. You can advise and lead and make them aware of the pros and cons without actually going out on a limb and recommending - depends on how secure you feel with them and your own decisions.

  11. #41
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    It may be worse than first thought:
    Quote Originally Posted by TonyJF View Post
    My guess is the option that represents the least transition and disruption will end up being the most expensive.
    Hi, from a secondary school in Leicestershire.

    I’m also frustrated by the lack of clear prices from any of the suppliers at the moment. I am waiting for the “school’s data” pack that should be with schools at some point this week, through the post. Hopefully that should let some light on the KCom/Capita offering. Though eventually had quotes from Capita.

    Currently the KCom price is in line with what County paid for it when they had the HTG, but I am frustrated at Capita's pricing for their openhive services. The quote for the OpenHive services is nearly double what we currently pay annually to the EMBC and, they want the same charge for the initial setup and migration. So essentially, for all the services we have currently, our first year cost would be 3-4 times greater than our current service charge with EMBC and will be 2 times greater for each subsequent year. This is taking into account the “generous” discounts; it concerns me that this is yet another money-making scheme similar to the fiasco with SIMS license transfers for schools converting to Academies (talked at length in another thread somewhere I’m sure).

    I too have had the RM quote which has provoked mixed feelings as it stirs up past memories and yet what they offer seems great based on services, capacity and price. I have expanded the RM quote to include email, filtering (local) and web/dns hosting and the cost has shocked me as it works out around £13k pa for a 100/100Mb (speed/bearer) leased line filtered/firewall, router and no install charge. This is off EMBC, and includes the Smartcache2 (which I’ve not heard great remarks about and the fact it isn’t working well with W7 which is a must for us as we’ve migrated fully!).

    Virgin have managed internet deals though I'm unsure whether they are on or off embc, waiting for confirmation from Virgin rep. Basically, 3yr 100/100Mb connection free install and router less than £10k pa. Though, need to add on your filtering package, email and hosting (inc dns).

    I'm also looking into a smoothie for filtering, GoogleApps for Education for email (plus other stuff too) and web hosting with a 3rd party. I know these are separate services but if they provide the services that the school is looking for at a price that the school can afford, then why not keep all of these options on the table!

  12. #42
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    I've yet to hear from Capita, despite their assurances they would be in touch last Thursday, but if neither they not KCOM react to market forces then as I mentioned previously, emPSN could lose out on a number of customers. I'd like to be able to resist the RM charge, but the emPSN providers need to act now.

  13. #43

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    This is vaguely worrying and intriguing at the same time - assuming Kcom were working with Capita, it looks more like RM according to the details here:

    kcom

    Either way, therein is an email to shout at them with

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    This is vaguely worrying and intriguing at the same time - assuming Kcom were working with Capita, it looks more like RM according to the details here:

    kcom

    Either way, therein is an email to shout at them with
    It's been that way from the first announcement - if you choose the KCOM package you get the RM services to go with KCOM's connection, and if you choose the Capita package you get the Openhive services but with the KCOM connection. The Capita package is the one most similar to the existing embc offering.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Ah fair enough, obviously didn't read into that properly then
    I've emailed them for a quicker response mostly as, in all honesty, waiting this late in the day is really not the way things should be going!

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