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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Broadband Providers in Technical; ...
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    Broadband Providers

    Hi,

    The head at the school where I do part time IT Support for is wanting to move away from CLEO and use another (cheaper) provider for their Broadband. This is after receiving the letter stating CLEO's prices are going to increase substantially (to 4x current price).

    The head has been speaking to a local IT firm and they have said they can provide a 1Mb link to the school for around £50 per month with £300 setup costs, unfortunately I don't have any more details than that but I think this would be bog standard ADSL.

    The school currently has a 10Mb link and I was just wondering how much of an effect dropping to 1MB would be? The school is very small and only has 25 - 30 Computers , do any of you have a 1MB link and is it suitable for this amount of Computers?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Millgate's Avatar
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    Hi mate,

    You're not the only one jumping ship. Most schools either are looking at this now or at least talking about it.

    We deal with this and i can get our broadband specialist to give you a call tomorrow if you like? She can explain how it would effect you and even give you a comparison.

    Just let me know

    Cheers

    Luke
    Last edited by Millgate; 25th May 2011 at 09:13 PM.

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    Don't know where you are based in Cumbria but LUNS are able to offer connections to schools. Worth giving Robin Williams or Scott Daniels a shout.

    The CLEO price hike seems to be seeing many people reviewing their connectivity.

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    Thanks for the replies, much appreciated!

    jcollings - I was looking at LUNS as I know they were connected with CLEO and have suggested to the Head that they contact them to see what they can offer.

    Luke - Thanks for the reply, unfortunately I don't work at the school full time and it would be down to the head to make the final choice (hopefully with some input from me!). Would you be able to send me some contact details that I could pass onto the head?

    Thanks again.

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    Millgate's Avatar
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    No problem mate. Just use my details below and I'll be happy to help. If/when he calls, just tell him to mention I've been speaking to you.

    All the best

    Cheers

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Without wanting to sound as if I am a killjoy, someone trying to be protective of LA /RBC roles or out of touch with reality ...

    What you get from an RBC is not just raw connectivity. Even if you have a pretty much raw feed there will be a safe level of filtering on it (IWF list at least) as well as access into NEN resources. Then you have network security. If you are putting your own line in then I hope you are going to look at a decent firewall. Just having a router in is not a brilliant option. Then you have the fact that you are likely to be using the RBC local address space ... and this then means putting stuff in place to NAT to the outside world (again ... back to the firewall or router). Do you have on site hosted services such as a website? In which case you are using a public IP to connect into this ... this is likely to be in a public address space allocated to the RBC. If you want to move then you do not take that with you ... this is not a problem though ... you can simply get the DNS pointed to the new IP address ... oh .. DNS ... I take it that you will be getting someone else to host the tag for your domain (easily transferred to someone else) and then getting someone to do your DNS for you ... and email? In all likelihood it is filtered coming in and going out ... and what about the hosting of email?

    Ok ... and breath ... not aimed at the OP ...

    @gselliott yes, swapping to an ADSL line could be a good option for you if a small school, but try to get a breakdown of what is being used by the school at the moment and who provides all those other services which can be forgotten about.

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    ayoward (27th May 2011)

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    Luke - thanks for the reply I will give the details to the head tomorrow.

    GrumbleDook - thanks also for the reply, I have raised most of these points with the head when she first told me she was deciding to move away from CLEO \ LEA and have explained that if we do 'go it alone' then there will be other costs to consider for Firewalls etc etc but she is adamant that she wants to go it alone!

    Luckily the schools website is already hosted by a third party so this is not an issue, but the email is hosted by the LEA so if the ties are also cut with them then yes we will need to look at email hosting as well. DNS is going to be an issue and is something i've not looked into yet if i'm honest!

    Thanks

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    @gselliot:

    LAs will no doubt try to make out that they supply quite a considerable amount of services and something else they spout is the words "COCO compliance" this has something to with security on the LAs WAN to which they have been certified as meeting the criteria.

    Quite a lot of schools today have moved from the LAs to their own personal ISP and have not suffered in the least on fixed pricing. It is always the problem with LAs who seem to justify a price hike to maintain their support costs when in fact they should streamline to accommodate the large amount of secondary schools they have a hold on.

    In this world of commerce why should schools be held to ransom over their internet connection, they like everyone in the country or the world for that matter should be able to change their ISP as and when without incurring the large costs which ISPs always subject schools to.

    BT are offering some great deals at the moment with no installation costs on 3 and 5 year contracts subject to a survey.

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    We have moved away from the LA to providing our own internet connection. The sudden price hikes we have had mean that it simply isn't worth dealing with the arrogant idiots that manage the service. They of course refused to consult with anyone other than the head and basically tried scare tactics. Once she scraped them off, no real problems.

    We run 2 x BT adsl lines with 2 public ip addresses
    1 TMG 2010 server for load balancing outgoing traffic between 2 lines and publishing internal services
    Smoothwall for the filtering

    up to 400 simultaneous users, with no problems.
    Large downloads are no longer as quick, but that is no real problem.

    The important thing is we now have a service that meets our needs. No more begging everytime we want a change.

    And it is cheaper

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Can I also make something clear (again, I am going to sound defensive about LAs / RBCs) but the sudden price hike for so many is not a sudden price hike.

    In general the cost has stayed the same or even come down for running connections on behalf of schools over the last few years, but the removal of grants started with the requirement for an LA to part contribute money to subsidise connections ... then followed up by the slow decrease of the Harnessing Technology grant and finally the early removal and failure to replace the HT grant. This meant that any subsidy or moving around of costs is no longer possible and, in general, the full cost is now borne by the school unless an LA is willing to provide support.

    The cost to the school from an LA may also include other things such as subject advice, hands-on support (not technical support) and so on. Again, any subsidies for these will be gone.

    In some ways you can say that LAs should have just given a full breakdown as to what money goes where and how in the past so that schools, but from personal experience of talking with senior leaders in schools and many Bursars / Business Managers, as long as the price coming in was low they didn't care to see all that. As for only dealing with the Head ... in many LAs you will find that Heads have demanded that things only go through them ... if a school cannot communicate internally then what the heck are LA staff to do? This is a real bind at times trying to talk to the right people ...

    Damned if you do ... damned if you don't.

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    You say potato, I say potato... (Hmm... that doesn't work so well in type).

    To a school, it is a sudden price hike. What they were paying before, regardless of grants being topsliced, is now increasing.

    Much like people blaming IT when the internet is down, even if it is an upstream ISP that's having issues, end users have a catch all 'its their fault' response to things.

    So, it is a price hike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Without wanting to sound as if I am a killjoy, someone trying to be protective of LA /RBC roles or out of touch with reality ...

    What you get from an RBC is not just raw connectivity. Even if you have a pretty much raw feed there will be a safe level of filtering on it (IWF list at least) as well as access into NEN resources. Then you have network security. If you are putting your own line in then I hope you are going to look at a decent firewall. Just having a router in is not a brilliant option. Then you have the fact that you are likely to be using the RBC local address space ... and this then means putting stuff in place to NAT to the outside world (again ... back to the firewall or router). Do you have on site hosted services such as a website? In which case you are using a public IP to connect into this ... this is likely to be in a public address space allocated to the RBC. If you want to move then you do not take that with you ... this is not a problem though ... you can simply get the DNS pointed to the new IP address ... oh .. DNS ... I take it that you will be getting someone else to host the tag for your domain (easily transferred to someone else) and then getting someone to do your DNS for you ... and email? In all likelihood it is filtered coming in and going out ... and what about the hosting of email?

    Ok ... and breath ... not aimed at the OP ...

    @gselliott yes, swapping to an ADSL line could be a good option for you if a small school, but try to get a breakdown of what is being used by the school at the moment and who provides all those other services which can be forgotten about.
    I agree that there was no 'price hike' because of the grants but we moved away from LA because it was 2k cheaper and a vastly faster Internet connection witht his I forget about Internet issues now and no staff complain as we have none!. The problem for us and other schools were the arrogance that we had no other options plus we had roughly a montht o consider other options and lastly the price kept changing everyday, if the LA gave the last price they offered first we would have prob stayed with the LA.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irsprint84 View Post
    I agree that there was no 'price hike' because of the grants but we moved away from LA because it was 2k cheaper and a vastly faster Internet connection witht his I forget about Internet issues now and no staff complain as we have none!. The problem for us and other schools were the arrogance that we had no other options plus we had roughly a montht o consider other options and lastly the price kept changing everyday, if the LA gave the last price they offered first we would have prob stayed with the LA.
    For some LAs they didn't know what they could offer as they did not know what money was coming in from the Govt or how it was coming in. Most LAs have shed staff by the bucket load to keep certin services going, and they are now also told to put all risk (financial or otherwise) on those who get the money, in spite still having contracts yet to finish their term.

    If LAs still have to pay up for a contract and the money isn't coming in from schools then the LA has a deficit and cuts other things. It may not affect the school, but still has an impact. And I know people have already said about why are the contracts so long ... that is because the Govt tells you to do that (even the existing one) to get best value and the legal costs and penalties to get out early are usually prohibitive.

    My general advice to people is to try and stick with the existing service for the length of the existing contract (but try to force changes / improvements, cost reductions where possible) and then see what the marketplace has to offer. Also, don't work in isolation ... when you do finally go to look then work with other schools to negotiate services and costs. Whilst doing a large procurement will bring in costs, as well as the various rules & regs, getting a group together to negotiate is a good thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    For some LAs they didn't know what they could offer as they did not know what money was coming in from the Govt or how it was coming in. Most LAs have shed staff by the bucket load to keep certin services going, and they are now also told to put all risk (financial or otherwise) on those who get the money, in spite still having contracts yet to finish their term.

    If LAs still have to pay up for a contract and the money isn't coming in from schools then the LA has a deficit and cuts other things. It may not affect the school, but still has an impact. And I know people have already said about why are the contracts so long ... that is because the Govt tells you to do that (even the existing one) to get best value and the legal costs and penalties to get out early are usually prohibitive.

    My general advice to people is to try and stick with the existing service for the length of the existing contract (but try to force changes / improvements, cost reductions where possible) and then see what the marketplace has to offer. Also, don't work in isolation ... when you do finally go to look then work with other schools to negotiate services and costs. Whilst doing a large procurement will bring in costs, as well as the various rules & regs, getting a group together to negotiate is a good thing.
    If we had longer to negotiate with the LA things could ve been different but we were told a cut off date to make a decision so we had to look else where

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    From our perspective, we started asking for pricing for our internet connection, post academy changeover, back last year. We only got partial pricing handed to us about a fortnight ago. If I go to a commercial provider, I get pricing there and then.

    LEAs and RBCs *really* need to get their act together over this issue, as this is going to lose them business!



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