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Recommended Suppliers Thread, New ISP Wanted in Purchasing and Trading; We are fed up with our troublesome internet connection from our council. We are contemplating moving to another ISP. I ...
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    thom's Avatar
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    New ISP Wanted

    We are fed up with our troublesome internet connection from our council. We are contemplating moving to another ISP.
    I was intrested if other schools use their LEA/Council or a company like BT or C&W.
    I don't even know if there are any legal impilcations. I saw something on the becta site http://ispsafety.ngfl.gov.uk/matrix_home.php but wasn't sure if that's useful.
    At the moment we pay £8000 a year for internet access, and they also throw in a McAfee site license. The speed is supposed to be 8MB but hovers around 2MB at the moment.
    The main reason is that we want staff access from home to our servers and the council are not getting anywhere (we have been asking them for 2-3 years at least).

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    Netman's Avatar
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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    Have used Easynet for the last 4 years here and have had no real problems - speed is good, uptime fine and response to problems good. Don't use their filtering though.... 2Meg line costs less than £2k per year and is fine for our 700 users or so. Just waiting for our exchange to be SDSL enabled now! :?

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    I use Demon at home and I rate them highly, although others don't. They may not have a product fast enough for you. Speaking from experience, BT are very unhelpful - one site I work at were longer without a service than with, when we used BT. Have you checked http://www.adslguide.org.uk/

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    Zen are of a high standard, but cost a lot. Have a look into their business packages.

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    Moving from an RBC to a commercial provider can be as interesting as doing it the other way ...

    Drop a PM to Ashok as he has done the same (moved from EMBC to NTL) and has some nice figures ...

    Becta are currently going through their procedures for accrediting ISPs so you might want to speak to them for clarification on the areas to look at.

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    @thom: I definately recommend you follow Tony's advice and speak to Ashok.

    You may not realise it but your RBC provide loads of other bits and pieces (which you probably don't care about at the moment) such as access to the NEN (National Education Network) and they have jumped through hoops to fullfill all the Becta accrediation process.

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    @thom: I definately recommend you follow Tony's advice and speak to Ashok.

    You may not realise it but your RBC provide loads of other bits and pieces (which you probably don't care about at the moment) such as access to the NEN (National Education Network) and they have jumped through hoops to fullfill all the Becta accrediation process.
    Yeah - but they're still pretty cr@p tho'. Here (EMBC) I was trying to get a prog from the MS site (not too big - 12Mb) after restarting the download about 50 times after it kept cutting out, I drove home, dl'd it via NTL in less that 30 secs and USB stick'd it back to the office - and for that I pay 12.5k, hmmm, there'd have to be some serious add ons to make that a good buy :?

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    @spuffmonkey: True... that sounds appawling. Perhaps you should read the Ts & Cs and check for the SLA. If the connection is regualrly that bad and they are making no effort to find a fix for you, I'm sure you would have the right to claim breach of contract.

    My point though, was that anybody considering an alternative should find out exactly what they get before doing a comparison.

    For instance, some RBCs provide a lot... I know that CLEO is good but we get:
    * Reliable, relativel fast, Internet connection
    * Web hosting
    * Hosted Moodle
    * Access to other hosted web services
    * Content filtering
    * AV
    * Access to NEN
    * Video Conferencing gateway
    ... and much more

    Obviously, nobody is perfect but you have to weigh up the pros and cons.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    My issue atm with EMBC is that we are struggling to get the configuration between the router into the school and our school firewall (Watchguard Firebox X700) happy ... there seems to be an issue with traffic routing, but Fujitsu Services have told us to go away as we are not running a standard build (even though I reckon we are according to some of their paperwork) and they will not forward it onto the sub-contractors who look after the router either.

    We are now working with the guys we get the Firebox from to come up with a solution and, just as I have been threatening to do for some time, the whole process is being written up into a report and published as "How to seriously fsck around a school that wants to innovate!"

    We will get there in spite of them ... not because of them. I am almost looking forward to the end of the EMBC contract next April ... when they get replaced (which is likely to be with a company limited by guarantee) there will be SLAs in place between the schools and EMBC. Schools will have greater control and input into what is a standard build and there will be a better break down of costs between connectivity and services provided ...

    The level of accountability with RBCs is minimal ... and each RBC slags the others in an unbelievable fashion (I cringe to listen to 3 other RBCs talking about CLEO ... ) and each thinks they have the right answer.

    If you go for a commercial company then you need to be aware of what you are losing with regards to content filtering, mail filtering and content caching ... you need to look at contention in your local area and think about SLAs that you can insist on (though most business SLAs will cover you).

    Think about any collaborative projects you are doing with other schools, either locally within the town, regionally within your RBC or nationally ... do any of them require you to have access to the same materials?

    Web hosting? In house or with the new ISP? VLEs? ePortfolios? What about remote access to the school? This can be just access to files through a web front-end, it could be access for parents to information on their children, it could be access for teachers to write reports ...

    Have a long hard look at what you need before you move (I am not trying to put you off moving ... just give you some ideas of the questions you need to ask the potential providers!)

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    thom's Avatar
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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    these are the reasons we want to move away from the council
    Web hosting? In house or with the new ISP? VLEs? ePortfolios? What about remote access to the school? This can be just access to files through a web front-end, it could be access for parents to information on their children, it could be access for teachers to write reports ...
    They don't provide any of that! Does moving away from the LEA mean that we wont get access to our RBC (E2BN)?

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_
    @spuffmonkey: True... that sounds appawling. Perhaps you should read the Ts & Cs and check for the SLA. If the connection is regualrly that bad and they are making no effort to find a fix for you, I'm sure you would have the right to claim breach of contract.
    FX: *hollow laughter*

    There isn't a proper SLA in place with embc, we don't have any such recourse. The t&cs are laughable. This is part of the problem.

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    Im stuck with EMBC at the moment, and at times they are not helpful at all...

    There was something from the Council about moving away from EMBC and joining 3rd party vendors like NTL as they dont have a link into the councils network.....

    I would love to move away from EMBC and to someone like NTL but due to funding in school, this is not possible for me

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    We use RM as our ISP & never had a problem. The speed is fine for our users, of which we could have upto 250 on at the same time. This is a 2mb line. RM have there own filtering, although I do use some internal filtering for sites that RM do not pick up. I let them know & they do remove them if they are unsuitable.
    I also block games sites & others that RM wont filter.
    I think, from memory, this service only costs us about £1500.00 a year. Not sure if they will be rolling out an 8mb line, but they should be keeping me informed.

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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    Again ... speak to Ashok. He moved to NTL sometime ago and has been quite happy ...

    NTL are trying to get Becta accreditation but I am not too sure how far along that is. Funding for connectivity is not ring-fenced and should not be retained by the LA ... if you can show equal connectivity and services for the same value then they are on seriously dodgy ground ... then again, this is the LA that said "don't use Moodle!"

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    webman's Avatar
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    Re: New ISP Wanted

    We use DurhamNET, an ISP for all schools in our region. They provide a very good service, reliable connection, video conferencing, proxy filters, email, and don't charge or complain to open up ports. We pay about £8,000 for 10Mbit fiber.

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