Recently we received the annual invoice for our school’s internet. It would mean upgrading our 4mb line to 8mb, but the price seemed very steep at £8,000. Rather than sign and be done with it I, along with a few other Twitter people, discussed different options. The majority seemed to think my price was too high and that I could get it for £150 a month or £3,000 a month. It all seemed to point to my internet being vastly overpriced. So I did some digging.

What did I want?

I want a fast, reliable system that will allow me to control some parts of it, but doesn’t NEED me to. This means if I leave my school, they can carry on as normal and the internet just works. I also need my office staff to be able to access their SIMs and other county stuff, this may need a small Hants-provided line to make it work. So…the options…

Our new line from Hampshire will be a fibre optic line through Virgin Media. We would be the only school using the line and we are fairly rural, noone else in the village can get Virgin Media. I asked some companies for quotes for a leased line as this would be the equivalent rather than ADSL which wouldn’t cut the mustard at all. The quotes for leased lines didn’t come anywhere near my Hampshire price, they were much higher. This was before you even start quoting for filtering, firewalls, cache boxes and everything else that Hampshire are putting in to their price.I was lucky enough to meet with Daniel Fearnley from Hampshire to discuss it and it really does make more sense to stay with the county solution.He talked about the future vision and that Hampshire (again) was leading the way with some of the stuff they’re doing.

So we’re going to sign on the dotted line and look forward to our new fast internet line in September.

edit – I forgot to say, until recently the cost of the internet was part-funded by the local authority. I wonder if the schools with lower costs elsewhere in the country still have a similar deal?

Now I know there will be some people that will say they can knock together something better for less…but can you really get an 8mb dedicated line for my school? It needs to be able to cope with 125 machines at a time. I’d be interested to hear people’s thoughts.