Hertfordshire schools save on improved internet services

    Published: 18 July 2018

    Herts for Learning (HfL) is working with over 500 schools across Hertfordshire to save them money on their broadband whilst delivering an enhanced service.

    HfL has worked closely with schools and academies across the county to develop a high-quality connectivity provision tailored to their specific needs. HfL’s Hertfordshire Internet and Connectivity Service (HICS) provides a safe, secure network, which is designed to enable schools to access the internet and education services in a supported environment. 

    HICS’ new provision offers not just a better service, but costs savings to schools enrolled of at least 15%.

    As HfL is run with a not-for-profit ethos, it means that any savings and efficiencies are kept and reinvested within the school community for the benefit of school children across Hertfordshire. 

    Delivering a tailored service and savings for schools

    In 2017, RM were awarded the HICS contract to deliver broadband services to HfL’s customers. 

    Better services

    The new HICS includes a number of enhanced features and benefits for schools, including:

    • Safety and security
      • Cloud based web filtering, that is fully customisable to each school’s requirements, including at an age-appropriate individual user level. RM’s service is fully compliant with Department for Education initiatives such as Keeping Children Safe in Education, Prevent Duty and ongoing updates to Ofsted’s Common Inspection Framework
      • Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Prevent alerting as standard, together with the ability to create customised web filtering alerts based on individual establishment requirements
      • Industry standard fully managed firewalls with built in resilience
      • Protection against Antivirus, and Anti Malware through inline filtering
      • Protected against external attacks with DDOS protection and Intrusion prevention services
    • Choice and flexibility
      • Ability to choose from a large variety of connection types around your schools requirements with options for backup connections for added resiliency
      • Ability to have local control of web filtering policies, DNS and Firewall settings.
    • High performance
      • Uncongested service with uncapped speeds and unlimited downloads to each school
      • Fully resilient service across multiple datacentres with resilient links to ensure maximum uptime
      • Experienced ISP in education with proven track record to deliver high-quality service
    • Support
      • Fully managed service with a market leading service level agreement 
      • Proactive service management – systems can display and highlight issues for resolution before schools are aware of them
    • Additional features
      • A supported VPN solution, to enable secure remote access for staff to school-based systems
      • Inter-site connectivity to enable multi-site collaboration with schools and multi-academy trusts to share services with simplicity and ease.

    Migrated on time

    The complex process of migrating from the old service began at the end of September 2017 and 509 schools were moved from the existing network onto the new one in time for the February 2018 deadline - a process which took only 19 weeks. 

    500+ schools enrolled

    Although schools are free to choose from any providers in the marketplace, there are now over 500 Hertfordshire schools enrolled in HICS service. With this level of loyalty to the network significant economies of scale have been achieved, with even greater discounts being passed back to schools.

    Impact

    • Improved network - the new HICS has an increased contractual uptime of 99.99% reliability, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • Improved service – and enhanced portfolio of services for schools
    • Reduced prices - as a result of having over 500 schools signed up to the new network, HfL have been able to give schools a reduction in their annual contract costs of at least 15%.

    Kevin Crawley, Co-ordinator of the HICS service at Herts for Learning, said:

    “We are delighted with how successful our connectivity provision has been. We have an improved service that we are delivering at a reduced cost to schools. The partnership we have with RM has worked really well and a lot of that is down to the hard work of both companies. HfL have a market leading service level agreement with RM and we will work closely with them, to make sure they continue to deliver.”

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