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Wired Networks Thread, Am I mad? School broadband cost versus home in Technical; ...
  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    School internet connections are generally not like home connections. Here are a few considerations (it is by no means a complete list)

    1. Contention - a home connection will typically be on a 1:50 contention, whereas a fibre line will be much lower than that (if it is a direct connection to an RBC, it'll likely be closer to 1:1).

    2. Proxy - this is not something to be sniffed at. Proper filtering that complies with all the requirements that schools have is not cheap. If you go out and buy an off the shelf box to do it, you're looking at several thousand pounds a year just for filtering.

    3. Email - Sure, there are free email services, but these are very recent and new. Many schools feel that services such as Google Apps don't provide the service that they require in terms of filtering, management and control. If a school doesn't want to go 'cloud', then an email service for a school is a costly endeavour. Remember - accountability is needed in a school, and free services sometimes cannot provide that.

    4. Routing - your home router might be able to handle that 100Mbit connection for the handful of devices connected to it, but try getting 100, 200 etc... devices to connect. The thing will basically curl up and die. So, instead, a corporate style router is needed and again, these cost a significant amount of money.

    5. Hosting - All you can eat hosts are notoriously bad. Overselling is rife in that category. This isn't a particularly expensive item to add to the bill when done right, but it is something that many schools like thrown in, as it is something less to think about.

    6. Technical support - this is incredibly important. An internet connection in a school is kind of like electricity or water now. Down time is detrimental to lessons, and as such being able to get through to and able to talk to a tech support person when you need to is an absolute must.

    7. SLAs - mixed with 6, because of the requirements of a modern school on their internet connection, downtime can be seriously disruptive to the normal running of a school. So, business and education offerings often now have an SLA which guarantees a certain level of uptime and service. In order to be able to provide those service levels, the providers have to charge more so that they can invest in better redundancy and better systems.

    8. Location - if the school is rural, getting a fibre connection to them is not cheap, as it generally has to be run a longer distance, this will also have meant an expensive install cost which the ISP will want to recoup if the school didn't pay it outright.

    So, overall, yes, school internet connections are expensive, but for many good reasons. However, £8k for a 10Mbit connection should be leading the school to look elsewhere to compare - for the same level of service.
    This is really helpful, thanks for providing such a detailed response. Forgive me if I throw around the free/cheap examples liberally...I'm merely pointing out the other extremity to the expensive/high-end that is comparable to what only the most profitable businesses in the UK pay for. That's the context I'm trying to compare with. My starting point is what I consider highly, highly expensive, which you seem to agree with - £8.5k for a 10MB line.

  2. #17

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    I was mainly referring to your rant about email services.

    Additionally school broadband may tie in other wan services rather than being just a pipe to the internet.

    It may also include vle services.

    I have significantly reduced what we pay going forwards, 100mbit connection on a 1gbit bearer for £14k but that is still a lot more than your common home broadband.

    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    @misources, can you let us know what position it is you hold at your school? This is quite important so we can point you in the right direction as it seems you are unaware of many legal and practical issues when it comes to school internet connections and information hosting (both file and email). Mainly legal emphasis it must be said.
    Hey, sure, no problem - I'm a governor looking at ICT. Would welcome any official links to guidance on legal and practical issues of school broadband. What's your role?

  4. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    I was mainly referring to your rant about email services.

    Additionally school broadband may tie in other wan services rather than being just a pipe to the internet.

    It may also include vle services.

    I have significantly reduced what we pay going forwards, 100mbit connection on a 1gbit bearer for £14k but that is still a lot more than your common home broadband.

    Ben
    Interesting, thanks for sharing Ben.

  5. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by misources View Post
    As for your points....contention is largely a fallacy. When I test my home connection at various times of the day, I get 100MB during the working day, and around 40MB in the evening, so what's more important is what you actually recieve. Peak broadband usage is in the evening. So a school at ten a.m. on my line would get 100MB down, 10MB up. "Guaranteed" speed? So a school should pay 20x the amount I do to have someone TELL them a service is guaranteed? Not sure I get that, sorry. And the legal, safety, privacy issues is the one I know least about, but as I understand it, there are a lot of suppliers of filtering out there and it's very competitive, and certainly not enough to bump up the service to 20x what I'm paying for at home.
    Thats a huge drop from 100mb to 40mb.

    this is an example Becta Schools - Resources - Internet services - Web content filtering products and services requirem | Teachfind

    My current lea line also gives us access to Janet JANET, the UK's education and research network (though our RBC)

    Which in itself costs a huge amount of money to keep running - this provides access to hundreds if not thousands of educational resources which you home internet doesn't

  6. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by misources View Post
    This is really helpful, thanks for providing such a detailed response. Forgive me if I throw around the free/cheap examples liberally...I'm merely pointing out the other extremity to the expensive/high-end that is comparable to what only the most profitable businesses in the UK pay for. That's the context I'm trying to compare with. My starting point is what I consider highly, highly expensive, which you seem to agree with - £8.5k for a 10MB line.
    To give you a couple of comparisons of what other schools pay. I look after 2 schools, 1 is a middle school and they pay about £5k for a 100Mbit connection, which includes filtering, student email, video conferencing, support, connection into the local authority for easy access to their services and other services. The other school is actually 4 schools in one building, this comes to around £13k for a 100Mbit connection with filtering, video conferencing access, easy access to local authority services and similar. If it were a single school in the building, it would be around £6k.

    How rural is your area and that school in particular?

  7. #22

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    @misources I don't think I have too. They are all getting regurgitated here, once again. Please stop comparing your home internet connection with a 'leased line' setup. Your home connection will not maintain that 100Mbps all day, every day, even it it is reported as such. With a dedicated connection you do. It's that simple, regardless of what you imagine your home connection is, it will not come with the same speed and service levels a leased line would. I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned child protection issues, but Tony may have gone to bed

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    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    @LocalZuk has hit the nail on the head.

    Hotmail and Gmail are great - yes free but not centrally managed - Live@edu/Google Apps have only recently been created to enable this central management which is key.

    Could you imagiene having to try and manually look after 1800 hotmail mailboxs? I've got over 2000 mailboxes on my two exchange servers - but again this functionality costs money but the man hours needed to 1800 hotmail boxes would take the cost 10 fold most probably
    Thanks Glennda - my only experience is with google apps, which has an extensive management panel that was of course developed for large corporations, who already trust them to run their service, like General Motors who I think have 100,000 users on or something. You can easily manage large groups of student i.d.'s and manage access, rights etc.

    Interesting you are running 2,000 mailboxes on exchange, that would cost a fortune compared to google apps when you factor in hardware investment, replacement, support, patching, back-up etc etc?

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    High schools in Norfolk pay £43,500 for a 20mbit symetric connection on a 100mbit bearer.

    The high cost is due to the rurality of the county and implementing a county wide wan.

    High schools are also subsidising the cost of primaries connections.

    Ben

  10. #25

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    @grumbledook

    Nope Tony is awake.

    Ben

  11. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    To give you a couple of comparisons of what other schools pay. I look after 2 schools, 1 is a middle school and they pay about £5k for a 100Mbit connection, which includes filtering, student email, video conferencing, support, connection into the local authority for easy access to their services and other services. The other school is actually 4 schools in one building, this comes to around £13k for a 100Mbit connection with filtering, video conferencing access, easy access to local authority services and similar. If it were a single school in the building, it would be around £6k.

    How rural is your area and that school in particular?
    This is really interesting and helps me realise how far out of line our costs are. The school is not rural at all, well built-up area with good connections. I'll start to shop around for the school now I've had all this great feedback.

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    Quote Originally Posted by misources View Post
    Thanks Glennda - my only experience is with google apps, which has an extensive management panel that was of course developed for large corporations, who already trust them to run their service, like General Motors who I think have 100,000 users on or something. You can easily manage large groups of student i.d.'s and manage access, rights etc.

    Interesting you are running 2,000 mailboxes on exchange, that would cost a fortune compared to google apps when you factor in hardware investment, replacement, support, patching, back-up etc etc?
    Google Apps is not a panacea for school email. We have it at our school and there are some significant issues surrounding filtering and control. For example, an incident occurred where a pupils email account was used to send an offensive email to every other person on our account. What options do we have for finding which machine logged in to do this and when? As we use a proxy, none. How do we get rid of that email for all recipients? The only way would be to reset every account password and log in and remove it manually. Not a small task for 1200 accounts.

    If we had our own exchange server, we could find which machine did what, when and how. We could recall emails or do a search across all mailboxes and delete the emails centrally.

    So, there are real issues at the moment.

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    @localzuk has covered most points, would go into it further as well but I have a feeling you have made your mind up. However here are a couple of points. By being connected to the RBC the school is connected to the LA which then allows secure transfer of data / remote support and other LA provided services such as remote backup and Exchange Email.

    Quote Originally Posted by misources View Post
    Technical support? When has a broadband provider ever given technical support?.
    Erm whenever my schools have needed it. In some circumstances they are aware of issues before the school. Also when we have had connection issues we have either engineer and/or new hardware the same day. This is highly important when the loss of connection could impact on childrens learning. Suggest tomorrow morning you unplug your router, call your home support number pretending to have faulty hardware and and see how long it takes for them to rectify the issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by misources View Post
    Thanks Glennda - my only experience is with google apps, which has an extensive management panel that was of course developed for large corporations, who already trust them to run their service, like General Motors who I think have 100,000 users on or something. You can easily manage large groups of student i.d.'s and manage access, rights etc.

    Interesting you are running 2,000 mailboxes on exchange, that would cost a fortune compared to google apps when you factor in hardware investment, replacement, support, patching, back-up etc etc?
    Yes but Google Apps is fairly new in terms of the wider picture and still has its problems in the edu world.

    Exchange Costs us under 2 x £50pa for license (can't remember exact figure). Then runs as a VM as part of a wider Virtual System - each machine as 12Gb ram and 4 Cores factoring hardware costs is difficult as its part of a wider solution but overall san/servers cost circa 25k but this runs 80% of the network and exchange is probably a 5/10% chunk. All the support is done by the team (2 1/2 people). So probably around 3/4k over 4 years for hardware/software

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    Quote Originally Posted by misources View Post
    This is really interesting and helps me realise how far out of line our costs are. The school is not rural at all, well built-up area with good connections. I'll start to shop around for the school now I've had all this great feedback.
    Not sure if you posted but is it primary or secondary?

    Does the school employ any it support staff? If so have you discussed these issues with them?


    Whilst you have input as a governor I would suggest that it's not your place to be shopping around.

    You will also find there is a contract period, possible early termination fees also.

    Ben



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