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David Tindall discusses what schools are looking for in a broadband provider and how Schools Broadband can cater to their needs

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | October 01, 2014 | Product news

By David Tindall, Director at Schools Broadband

Much like businesses and homes, schools are using the internet more and more for teaching and administration. In fact, Fortinet estimates that the amount of internet data being used by schools has been increasing by 120% each year! Schools are now reliant on the internet which means they’ll need to have the fastest possible upload and download speeds available to accommodate its concurrent use by many staff and pupils.

As an ISP dedicated to delivering internet services to education, Schools Broadband is able to provide the latest connection technology. As we work with a number of wholesale providers, we can conduct a search on each school to determine the best possible connection and secure the best price. New Ethernet over FTTC (EoFTTC Technology) means that any school that has fibre to their local cabinet can now take advantage of this new technology. Considered a leased line, EoFTTC gives schools a 1:1 contention ratio as recommended by the National Education Network and provides download speeds of up to 80Mbit.

We recommend this for all primary school installations and have already started to install this for new customers where available. For secondary schools, we always recommend a leased line.

Of course, providing internet services to schools doesn’t just mean giving them the fastest speeds. Our focus remains very much on pupil e-safety. Ofsted recommends that schools take a managed approach to content filtering, where the school has some control over access to websites and offers age-appropriate filtering. It has been widely acknowledged that pupils in schools that have managed systems have better knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe than those in schools with locked down systems because they are given opportunities to learn how to assess and manage risk for themselves.

Our Security and Web Filtering solution meets these recommendations. Globally unique, our cloud-hosted infrastructure combines the expertise of global leaders Fortinet and Lightspeed Systems, giving schools the latest in Next Generation Firewall protection in combination with fully customisable content filtering. The Lightspeed Systems’ user interface is so intuitive that any member of staff can learn to use it quickly and easily to customise web access by year group, teaching group or even by individual pupil and the system also allows administrators to expand and contract internet access for specific periods. The system’s comprehensive and accurate URL database updates daily and has more than 1 billion entries grouped into education-specific categories.

Our reporting function has also proved invaluable to schools, allowing administrators to view all websites visited by each pupil (if desired) and will also pro-actively report any suspicious search queries. Our cloud-hosted system will hold these records for up to three years should you ever need to retrieve them.

In July, we were extremely proud to be presented with Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) award for ‘Best Business Use of Cloud’ for our Schools Broadband-hosted infrastructure that has helped hundreds of schools save money.

We were also selected as finalists for ‘Internet Safety and Security’. As a young company, we are continually evolving and working hard to ensure that we are giving schools up-to-the-minute technology that promotes the safe and effective use of online resources.

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