ICT Services 4 Education


School ICT News Bulletin No. 223 - 05/07/2013

Published by ICT Shared Services

Norfolk Schools Broadband Service update - July 2013

ICT Shared Services and BT announce improved ICT services for schools by delivering improvements to internet infrastructure and bandwidth performance for all Norfolk schools and academies. 


This builds on the unique virtual learning environment available through the Norfolk Cloud Portal for all Norfolk learners and teaching staff through Norfolk Schools Broadband.


Norfolk Schools Broadband Service offers far more than any other provider:

  • Solution specifically designed to support learning and teaching  with all the tools to support collaboration and innovation.
  • Security scaled to keep young people safe and sensitive data secure.
  • Google email and Apps for Education.
  • Norfolk Cloud Portal with single user ID and password for all staff and learners to access a wide range of learning resources.
  • Smoothwall internet filtering with options for local control for your school.
  • Generic secure emails for Head@, office@.
  • And  improved  performance and bandwidth offered through the BT contract extension.

For more information about how this will be achieved read on.


Contract Extension

After careful consideration we have chosen to extend the BT contract for the schools’ Broadband provision from 1st April 2014 for 2 years ensuring it will deliver important changes to the services to deliver the level of internet performance to support your school’s business needs.

We recognise the increased demand for internet services and the use of technology to support learning outcomes and therefore the requirements for improved performance from your Broadband performance. We know that there will be concerns from schools in the light of recent events however BT have provided a dedicated core team of engineers based in County Hall to work jointly with us to deliver the contract changes

BT expects to achieve improved performance for schools through changes to the supporting infrastructure as follows:


Internet Access

BT will double the shared internet provision from 1Gb to 2Gb to improve internet performance in all schools.


Broadband links for secondary schools and academies

The current rate limit on High Schools 100Mb links will be lifted to allow the full 100Mb bandwidth. This re-configuration will be prioritised early in the rollout before any new circuits are installed.


Broadband links for primary and special schools and academies

A large number of schools will be provided with a significant bandwidth increase and move to a superfast connect service as Superfast broadband is implemented across the county.

The majority of Primary and Special Schools which currently have a 10Mb circuit will move to “superfast connect” which will provide speeds up to 30Mb and above depending on how close they are located to the exchange. Superfast access to 79 primary schools will be part of the initial announced rollout, with a further 181 schools to move to superfast in line with the implementation of Superfast broadband across Norfolk.

The remainder with 10Mb circuits, where superfast broadband won’t be available for any providers of Broadband services, will receive the full 10Mb capacity of the circuit and not be throttled back to 2Mb or 4Mb as currently is the case.

In order to improve bandwidth to primary schools on 2Mb that will remain on Learning Stream due to current limitations in access technologies, BT proposes to deploy an additional link to increase bandwidth to these sites.

BT will actively look to reduce the 2Mb estate over time and advise on new technologies that would allow NCC to do this.


Norfolk Schools Broadband Service – far more than Broadband

Norfolk Schools Broadband Service is a complete package of learning and teaching tools and resources with safe and secure connectivity and communication services designed to safeguard your young people and data which is a world away from the high-street broadband deals that schools and academies are offered. The improvements will support learning and teaching and the increased use of all the resources included in your Norfolk Schools Broadband package.

For example the Norfolk Cloud Portal offers access for staff and pupils to a wide range of applications requested by the school community from anywhere 24/7 through a single point with one user ID and password. It includes Google Apps for Education for all staff and pupils i.e. Google mail, calendar, spreadsheet, word documents, presentation, drawing, 25GB of free storage per user, Blogger and many more.

Since the Norfolk Cloud Portal was launched in November 2012 the use of the learning resources available from E2BN has increased by 25%, due to the ease of a single access point for users to the appropriate content to support a particular piece of learning. E2BN learning resources as well as many other resources from the National Education Network are included in the package at no extra cost for Norfolk Broadband schools.

The Norfolk Cloud Portal has been acclaimed by national education leaders for its innovative approach to support anytime, anywhere access to learning resources.  Now Smoothwall internet filtering will offer schools more choice, flexibility and local control over the filtering in school. More information about Smoothwall functionality is available here.

This is just a flavour of the features of the Norfolk Broadband Service.  More information on the services included is available on the front screen of our website www.ict.norfolk.gov.uk


Smoothwall Internet Filtering

The firewalls that support the Schools’ Broadband Service have now been upgraded. We are aware of a related email issue for a very small number of schools, which is being addressed urgently by BT.

We are in the process of moving the Smoothwall pilot schools to the Smoothwall filtering service to assess the impact on internet traffic.  We expect the Smoothwall solution to be completed by September 2013 and will keep you updated with progress.


Next steps

We will write to each school individually to inform you of the service improvements for your school with timescales over the next few weeks as we work with BT to agree them. More information will be made available shortly on our website www.ict.norfolk.gov.uk or email nccbroadbandproject@norfolk.gov.uk


Created on: 04/07/2013 10:14:40