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East Midlands Broadband Consortium (EMBC) Thread, Pricing from kcom in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); Just wondering how many schools have actually had a quote from kcom for connectivity yet? Last I heard, the info ...
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    kaphc's Avatar
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    Pricing from kcom

    Just wondering how many schools have actually had a quote from kcom for connectivity yet?

    Last I heard, the info was supposed to be out the week commencing 20th Feb but so far we've had nothing. I've chased up for a quote this morning.

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    camel's Avatar
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    Nothing yet, but I've read in another post that schools could receive it up to 14th March? Great for those needing to make decisions by end of March!

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    We've had one via the LA.

    7K2 for connection only (10Mb over fibre) and a firewall, mandatory filter (whose?) is extra and unspecified. We are city primary, 200ish kids.

    There are lots of unanswered questions here at the moment.

    Anybody know -
    What is the value of a managed service? Don't all commercial BB providers manage their services?
    How does SSO work and can we do it without embc?
    Must one have a filtered connection (more than just the IWF blacklist applied) in a primary, can we not just access via a filtering proxy box?
    How are filtering systems rated? What standards must we adhere to?
    NEN - anybody ever used it?

    There are more - info appreciated!

    Mat

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    kaphc's Avatar
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    There's a lot of discussions about filtering and the requirements around it in:

    this thread

    Given that we appear to pay 1,600 per year for our school broadband connection (according to the figures from our school clerk), I suspect we're going to take a hit on this.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mats View Post
    We've had one via the LA.

    7K2 for connection only (10Mb over fibre) and a firewall, mandatory filter (whose?) is extra and unspecified. We are city primary, 200ish kids.
    Mat
    *cough* Is a touch expensive IMHO @Grumbledock will be able to help with regards to the questions on Filtering and EMBC etc It used to be becta but that no longer exists!

    Talk to the Smoothwall guys for filtering I ordered one along with a firewall about 4/5 months ago and its been brilliant. The filtering works out of the box.

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    Ta for that folks. I fear that the fud-throwing (elsewhere) has only just started..

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    We did receive some pricing but then Leics LA announced that there were some "anomalies" in KCOM's pricing so would get revised costs the week beginning 27 Feb (this week).

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    Not sure about connectivity but what they offer via Capita's Openhive setup is per user (for things like filtering, email etc not broadband provision) - that's surely going to be a nightmare?

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    kaphc's Avatar
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    Just out of interest, our school clerk has just had a letter through with the 2011/12 costs (and an estimate for 7 months in 2012/13). At the moment, our 10Mbps line + all the embc services costs approx 5,000, and the LA subsidise these costs by approx 3,500. (This is in Derbyshire).

    I suspect the loss of the subsidy and whatever replaces it are going to be key factors in the decision-making!

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Ok, there are some bits I can respond to on here.

    Management of the network. I know this varies from RBC to RBC, but most operate a managed, redundant network. This means that they operate over several rings with central back hauls to split data centres. In EMBC land this operates over an MPLS network, meaning that should one exchange or line go down or one backhaul or data centre fail, then all traffic is automatically re-routed.

    If we take BT and the 21CN infrastructure ... this is very similar, where a mesh of interconnects between exchanges means that should one go down the other sections take the load. Of course, in both cases it means that if you are on the exchange that goes down then you have a problem, but others on the same network don't.

    If you are buying from some other providers, some operate their own network as well, be it over IP Clear or otherwise, and this network may or may not be redundant. They may only have 1 point of presence to the internet from their network, whereas others may have several. EMBC presently has 3, 1 with KCOM and 2 with JANET. This also means that all traffic which can go via JANET (i.e. to services which peer to JANET) will do so automatically. It is also worth saying you can only go to free NEN resources over a member of the NEN (or The Education Network as it will now be known).

    The routers and equipment in exchanges are set to automatically alert a central support team so that should a router disappear or be unavailable for a short period then the relevant folk are contacted to call the school and investigate, or deal with it without the school even knowing. I do ask our schools not to turn off routers during holidays unless they really need to as first thing on Monday morning in a half-term I am bombarded with the follow up alerts from Synetrix telling me that school x couldn't be contacted and there is a fault with the connection. The other aspects of network monitoring including traffic checking, so that should excessive traffic be seen coming from a single or few IP addresses in a school then the schools is contacted to warn them. In the past this has caught a number of viruses (and helped pinpoint the problem for some schools), people leeching (teachers bringing their own computers into school and downloading a lot of 'stuff'), compromised mail servers (open relay ... which couldn't get out anyway due to how outgoing mail is routed) and so on.

    Some of this can be dealt with in house by schools, but each thing you have to cover adds a cost on, whether it is in hardware, software or time. I know some schools can be individually better off this way but others won't be.

    When you also add in the extra support some schools get from LAs (and yes, I know not everyone thinks they get a good deal on that) ... but this will include folk checking and chasing support calls for you, even if your LA does not provide first line support, ranging from checking how things are proceeding on individual calls to fixing what needs to go into FireWall Change Requests.

    Web Filtering, it is more than just the lists that are set up from word go. Yes, those going for accreditation had to meet some hard tests and the accredited level will come across as a tad harsh for many places ... but the true benefits of working with a company / product that went through the accreditation is the wealth of advice in tweaking for your school, example of good practice and support to make sure things don't go wrong. There are a number of filter providers on here on here (not just to wonderful folk at smoothwall) and most will say to you how important this is, and not just as a sales spin!

    There is a lot more I could say, but most is covered in the Toolkit for Northants schools but I would stress that the costs for a network for things to run over is pretty fair and the reason why many others you will come across are cheaper is because it is not comparing like with like. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you know what you are missing out on (which might not be needed by you anyway)

    Anyway ... I'm back off to my fence ... it feels lonely when I get down from it.

  11. 4 Thanks to GrumbleDook:

    kaphc (28th February 2012), mats (28th February 2012), synaesthesia (28th February 2012), tom_newton (29th February 2012)

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    The usual in-depth and thoroughly useful guidance we come to expect from you, Tony You do realise that if you ever clear off to pastures new, it's likely we're going to hunt you down and drag you back?

  13. Thanks to synaesthesia from:

    GrumbleDook (28th February 2012)

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    One of the problems is that I see the the infrastructure and support day in, day out ... And know the design and how it compares to other networks .... There aren't likely to be that many on here who see the insides as much apart from folk like the providers, LUNS, other RBC folk, those heavy on the network side of JANET.

    In the same way that some of the systems you support could be dark arts to me, if no one goes into it in detail then how *are* you going to know? I would suggest that MAN/PSN infrastructures would be a good webinar / session at the conference but I would not be impartial enough and don't want to tread on the fact that other options are around for schools at the end of the existing contract, outside of the new framework.

    Polished explanatory materials from emPSN/Embc is likely to be regarded as sales though, partly because it explains in great detail the benefits, partly because of how the market is right now ... that is why the fence is far safer right now!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kaphc View Post
    Just wondering how many schools have actually had a quote from kcom for connectivity yet?

    Last I heard, the info was supposed to be out the week commencing 20th Feb but so far we've had nothing. I've chased up for a quote this morning.
    I had our quote in. It was for the same as we have now, a 40mbps link. When I told them that it was more expensive than the 100mbps connection (plus basic filtering) offered by RM, they said they'd look again and are now, as far as I know, putting together improved 100mbps packages which they expect to announce next week.

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    Just had an email telling me not to expect any more info from Kcom until 14th March. I'm still under the impression that the powers that be hope primarys without dedicated or on site support will just opt for staying with what they know rather than what will suit them best Having only had one supplier price up how am I suppose to advise my schools?

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    Gibson335's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smee View Post
    Just had an email telling me not to expect any more info from Kcom until 14th March. I'm still under the impression that the powers that be hope primarys without dedicated or on site support will just opt for staying with what they know rather than what will suit them best Having only had one supplier price up how am I suppose to advise my schools?
    To try and put a positive spin on it, this further delay might mean they're treating this seriously and will come back with some decent pricing. I think a lot of schools will opt for the like-for-like solution, and it is tempting to go for the least disruptive package, so you can't blame them. However, with Primary schools more so than Secondary, the bottom line might count most of all.

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