poltawski (15th March 2011)
"Not quite" in your limited view, my limited view is different and I see "absolutely, definitely", but again there are no universal rules for any of this. For instance, when I worked in the real-world I didn't have to ring the ISP very often because they didn't do anything for me besides provide raw connectivity.. was just calls to complain about outages, transit problems to corner of the world etc., none of which anyone with a phone answering support job would fix in 5 mins.not quite, i'd rather not have to wait for a CCR to be approved by the LA then filter through 2 subcontractors, weeks...... when i worked in industry we used to ring the ISP and they would do it while you were on the phone.
With my tax-payers hat on and very little inbuilt socialist, the simplistic manner in which this topic keeps getting raised is irksome. In a perfect world the Gov[tm] would ensure all schools get connectivity (+preferably flexible web-filtering) same way they get electricity i.e. at pretty much the same unit price everywhere. In the imperfect real world I have no problem whatsoever with some schools effectively subsidising connections for others that would never be able to afford the real cost for a 1/2 decent rural connection. If enough Secondary, up-their-backsides Academies et al abandon their LA/RBCs/Whatever then I guess we'll see some smaller schools (Primaries etc. which might be feeders for a Secondary that went their own independent way) drop off the net, at least for usable teaching/learning purposes.
Don't know what it's like anywhere else, but I guess the main difficulty is that some LAs/RBCs/Whatever might be genuinely terrible, nothing at all like that 100% perfect service you provide your users, or have several features you might not want at all bundled into an all-or-nothing deal? So what's wrong with sorting that out collectively instead of this fragmented every-school-for-themselves idiocy?
Basically if this kind of issue does apply to your corner of the world (seems to me it could apply to lots) and no one is thinking about this specific aspect very hard, then you are not providing the 'value' I expect for my meagre share of the money paid for a public service.
Is Edugeek pretty much resigned to endorsing and being an explicit marketing tool for such companies (who will happily help bring about the above scenarios) then?We shall hopefully have a company who is very, very good at school internet connectivity talking about this very subject
Last edited by PiqueABoo; 12th March 2011 at 09:39 PM.
GrumbleDook (12th March 2011)
I think its all about choice and choice should have happened many years ago. I ll do the opersite and sound capitalist, all parties came with a price and I chose the best price and connection for the school. I will come of harsh but I do the best for my school not others the government and not the council should look at the problems with primary schools and hard to reach schools thats not my job.
oxide54 (13th March 2011)
Anyhow... I am thinking that, at least in many areas, these may be a bit mythical now. I know it was largely true 5 years ago, but perhaps not now.
What I see is that "large scale" roll-outs across LAs means one provider, which rarely does "fit all". In this case, schools which are already in reach of that provider end up paying more so that schools out of that providers' reach can receive connectivity from the same company. In many of these cases if 3 providers who all "naturally" cover the entire area could be used, the total cost would be less. I don't think there really are "economies of scale" in this sort of provision.
I do accept that some schools will get a worse deal - perhaps rural outliers in predominantly urban areas will be worst hit overall. On the other hand, this will encourage new modes of delivery - the company mentioned as possibly coming to the conference, for example can deliver wireless at a good pricepoint to a very limited number of schools. This would never fly if they had to do it on a much larger area, but i'd hazard that those schools who are now freed to take this up will benefit. Similarly FTTC, a largely consumer focused tech will allow other schools to take up connectivity where appropriate.
Having said that, we (Smoothwall) are working with one LA who are predominantly rural - and unsurprisingly they seem to be heading for a fairly cohesive strategy, perhaps because each school percieves individual connectivity to be harder than the norm to provide, but also in large part because the LA in question is taking pains to adapt to the other bits the schools do and don't want.
This does show that in some cases where a "group buying" situation can prove its worth, it will succeed. Unfortunately there WILL be some losers, in terms of the (ans im thinking relatively few) schools whos connectivity really was subsidised (as opposed to subsidising a connection that you wouldnt have bought in an open market), but with time, this will work itself out. Meanwhile I hope larger/luckier schools ISPs, and those on the periphery like ourselves will do our best to help anyone who does end up losing out.
This isn't an "anti-LA/RBC" rant (indeed its more of a ramble ) rather trying to put a different slant on the situation.
Tom, have smoothwall thought about being an ISP themselves so they can tie in all equipment together???
I do know from the discussions that I've been part of with Norfolk that I've heard figures of £500,000 to connect a rural primary by fibre as it was well beyond the range of copper adsl.
Yup so it didn't get done.
However there is government funding coming and Norfolk County Council is working with them and businesses to eventually provide high speed internet access.
@Tom: In counties which have a hard density of urban settlements but also have areas of rural deprivation then you will still find it costs a bundle for some schools and dirt cheap for others. This is the same whether you buy into the RBC/LA or other suppliers. This is why BDUK is working with councils, communities, etc to try and get something done. The installation costs of fibre in Norfolk is not surprising ... having seen costs for rural areas in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire ... even if the Govt is not interested in supporting RBCs / NEN then I wish that they would at least pay for all schools to have decent lines to give a consistent chance of having a decent connection (and other services) from *any* supplier.
It is likely to create a two-teir system of those that are in easy to provide areas and those who aren't and have to pay for improvements to be made (unless it can be funded by someone else). Even if it does create new models of deliver then that is good.
One of the problems is that contracts and agreements with more than one supplier (whether it is 2 or 3 for broadband, others for filtering, email, webhosting, etc) can be expensive to manage so it can be cheaper for schools to do their own thing in this case, but it still leaves some out on their own. No solution is going to fit everyone perfectly ... and I just hope that in the years to come when people wonder why we have schools struggling for money and having to make a choice between including filtering with their connection or not, when they are on a bare-bones connection with poor speeds (in comparison with same size schools 5 miles away) and it is affecting what the school can do ...
I'm trying not to have an anti-anti-LA rant ... but LAs will not be able to do things collectively for schools in the future across a number of areas and so schools *have* to work together ... not leave each other to fend for themselves purely for the betterment of themselves. If you can work in clusters then brilliant, in groups of clusters or areas then all the better ... if you can do it across a whole LA / County then wonderful.
tom_newton (13th March 2011)
The problem is, as an individual school - it is not our responsibility to provide services to other schools. It is not our place to worry about the funding of other schools. If we did that, we'd never get anything done, as we'd spend half our budget subsidising other schools. At a school level, it is our responsibility to get best value for our pupils, for our community.
What happens when you realise that many of these primaries that are miles out in the middle of nowhere actually only have 12 pupils, yet get 5 times the funding per pupil as your school. Is that fair?
Collective thinking is only as good as the lowest common denominator - why should those who can get good deals be forced to lower the quality of their service?
However, schools thinking independently doesn't mean they won't help other schools. In our town, for example, I don't see why our school couldn't have leased lines installed to the first schools with us becoming their ISP. It all depends how our LEA goes though, and how many wish to become academies.
GrumbleDook (13th March 2011)
I don't understand this point. Can you explain what you mean?and I just hope that in the years to come when people wonder why we have schools struggling for money and having to make a choice between including filtering with their connection or not, when they are on a bare-bones connection with poor speeds (in comparison with same size schools 5 miles away) and it is affecting what the school can do ...
From dealing with managed providers here and business providers I would choose the business ones instantly as they do what you ask them to rather than argue that they know best about how to run your schools network.
Last edited by SYNACK; 13th March 2011 at 04:16 AM.
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