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South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) Thread, Provision of Broadband Services from April 2013 - what are you going to do? in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); Hi Fellow SWGfL Edugeekers, particularly those in Wiltshire. I have just seen a letter from the Wiltshire LA giving details ...
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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Provision of Broadband Services from April 2013 - what are you going to do?

    Hi Fellow SWGfL Edugeekers, particularly those in Wiltshire.

    I have just seen a letter from the Wiltshire LA giving details of the planned changes to Broadband provision in the SWGfL area effective from 1st of April 2013.

    In a nutshell the LA won't be picking up the tab any longer and are giving the choice of where to go.

    We have been offered a briefing to outline the LAs suggested way forward. However, the timescale - as ever is tight!

    What are other Wiltshire (and presumably other SWGfL area schools where the LA is sidestepping funding this service) planning to do?

    In the past I did explore the options and Talk Straight seemed to offer a pretty good package.

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    You've been given that much notice? Really? That's shocking if so! We were given a hell of a lot more notice in Northamptonshire/EMBC region (sorry for butting in this forum but thought it might be useful) when our LA did the same as it's a huge task to undertake with a lot of investigation required. In fact, the lead times for new installs would take you to April if you ordered now anyway in most cases!

    We're on talk straight and find them very good, performance and support. Not massively keen on the Fortigate kit but it does it's job. You'll need to spec for another email filtering solution - Fortigate will filter emails but only at an extremely basic level and nothing like what you'd need. (We use the Microsoft FOPE, works regardless of if you use exchange or not).

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    speckytecky (4th February 2013)

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Thank you @synaesthesia your input is highly welcomed.

    We currently have SWGfL's Easymail - one of my big worries is how we migrate the messages and settings to another system - assuming we move away from SWGfL?


    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    You've been given that much notice? Really? That's shocking if so! We were given a hell of a lot more notice in Northamptonshire/EMBC region (sorry for butting in this forum but thought it might be useful) when our LA did the same as it's a huge task to undertake with a lot of investigation required. In fact, the lead times for new installs would take you to April if you ordered now anyway in most cases!

    We're on talk straight and find them very good, performance and support. Not massively keen on the Fortigate kit but it does it's job. You'll need to spec for another email filtering solution - Fortigate will filter emails but only at an extremely basic level and nothing like what you'd need. (We use the Microsoft FOPE, works regardless of if you use exchange or not).

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    The usual standard would appear to be getting individual users to be responsible for doing that, once you've set up outlook or something to get messages to PST files. Huge job for large schools! Was easy for us as we use our own internal mail stuff. I would hope SWGfL might offer some useful input for you there; perhaps it's worth a call to them to clarify some points. Maybe they'll be able to provide physical media with an export of that data.

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    @synaesthesia how much does FOPE cost?

    Also are you using a fortinet firewall then (seeing as you mention fortigate)? I'm in the market for firewalls at the moment and was thinking of adding spam filtering but if it's not up to the task for something like that I may take a look a fope.

    Also another SWGfL school jumping ship this year Albeit we already host our own exchange so luckily no worries for dealing with that horrible easymail.

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    Not knowing the full story behind how things are at the LA, it is possible that changes in funding / politics / etc have meant a rapid change of how the funds are allocated to schools to pay for things like this. Although Northants did give a lot of notice about the natural end of the existing embc contract, we did have a sticky point when the Gov't changed and we had significant grant and funding cuts, meaning that schools had to pay. It is not a nice position to be in.

    If your LA is giving you the choice of where to look and helping you to do so then you might want to have a look at the toolkit we wrote with our schools to help make that decision (feel free to pass it on to the folks at the LA too).

    Schools Broadband Working Group - A Toolkit | Duston School

    Also feel free to give them my contact details as well if they want a chat with someone who went through the same thing they did.

    Personally, due to lead times mainly, I would recommend you stick with what you have for the next year at least, to allow you time to look around and plan for what you need, before going out to the market. Don't make a quick jump for something cheap only to find it doesn't work how you thought it would, it doesn't give you the same (or better) functionality and/or the connectivity is not quite what you thought it would be.

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    speckytecky (4th February 2013)

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    zag
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    We did this a few years ago when our LEA pulled out.

    We got our 100mbit line with BT
    We changed our email system over to Live@edu. It was actaully quite easy to migrate as we changed our domain name to a .co.uk at the same time and ran the emails in parrellel during the changeover
    We purchased a smoothwall box for the filtering and firewall.

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    Not sure on outright cost - our EES agreement covers us for it. And yes, it's Fortinet based (Fortigate 100D is the appliance). The firewall side of it is good from what we can see, reasonably easy to configure and what-not but as said the spam filtering is too basic for educational use and the web filtering isn't very modular. You can set filtering per IP or per usergroup and changes are instant, but you can't for instance have a room/OU on one filtering level and another on others (useful we found for Youtube access).

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumbleDook View Post
    Personally, due to lead times mainly, I would recommend you stick with what you have for the next year at least, to allow you time to look around and plan for what you need, before going out to the market. Don't make a quick jump for something cheap only to find it doesn't work how you thought it would, it doesn't give you the same (or better) functionality and/or the connectivity is not quite what you thought it would be.
    Absolutely agree - although you just have to hope SWGfL don't stiff you on cost/features for that year! Would be good to get some information from them directly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Not sure on outright cost - our EES agreement covers us for it. And yes, it's Fortinet based (Fortigate 100D is the appliance). The firewall side of it is good from what we can see, reasonably easy to configure and what-not but as said the spam filtering is too basic for educational use and the web filtering isn't very modular. You can set filtering per IP or per usergroup and changes are instant, but you can't for instance have a room/OU on one filtering level and another on others (useful we found for Youtube access).
    Is this something you had to ask to have added on to your licensing agreement or something that's generally included with EES agreements?

    I've no idea how i find out if we have it available

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    Assuming you mean MS FOPE, it was already included in ours specifically - it wasn't something we had to have added on, but did have to ask MS to activate for us. Double check with your licensing provider to confirm. We use it with Zimbra.

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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Assuming you mean MS FOPE, it was already included in ours specifically - it wasn't something we had to have added on, but did have to ask MS to activate for us. Double check with your licensing provider to confirm. We use it with Zimbra.
    Fantastic, cheers

    Most likely means we have it then, we've got the EES licensing with all the bells n whistles so hopefully it's included in there. Will ask our provider tomorrow.

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    Where did you see this?

    Never seen any SWGFL letters

    Steve

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    It's dated the 31st of Jan -addressed to Headteachers. I will see if it's available electronically and send it on to you. BTW thanks for the .bat file. Much appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve21 View Post
    Where did you see this?

    Never seen any SWGFL letters

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by speckytecky View Post
    It's dated the 31st of Jan -addressed to Headteachers. I will see if it's available electronically and send it on to you. BTW thanks for the .bat file. Much appreciated.
    Mmm can't see anything online about it, unless I'm being blind! Eight schools all on SWGFL Internet will be fun if this happens....



    Steve

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