Management Information Sheet

Broadband Service update

MI Sheet TypeInformation
MI Number:173/11
Publication Date:15/07/2011 12:00:00
LA (01603 475612)
Audience:All staff
Links:Norfolk Schools Broadband MI sheet.doc

Broadband Service update

ICT Shared Services update on the provision of the Broadband service in response to the Norfolk Broadband Survey submitted to NASH and feedback from ICT Services to Schools workshops.

ICT Shared Services reviewed the results of a school survey submitted to NASH on the Broadband service. This information has been very helpful for improving service and mirrors the feedback from schools through ICT Services fro Schools project workshops.

As a consequence of the workshops ICT Shared Services had already been analysing the Broadband Infrastructure from the school end to the internet to understand the cause of the problems and planning to resolve the problems.

Key themes of the survey and workshop feedback were
  • Speed
  • Performance
  • Cost
    Cost had already been addressed by MI sheet 32/11.

    What are we doing about speed and performance?

    Current position

  • The Broadband Service provides links to all schools.
  • Each School has its own internal network and this connects to the Broadband service.
  • Schools manage their own internal Networks.

    Things that affect the speed of service
  • The size of the pipe
    High Schools have pipes capable of 100Mbp/s
    Most Primary and special schools have 10Mbp/s
    There are a smaller number of schools which for technical and geographic reasons will have either 2 or 4Mbp/s possibly using wireless.
  • How much of the pipe is available
    At the moment High Schools are using 20Mbp/s
    Primary and special schools are using 2Mbp/s
    When balancing cost against business need this should be adequate but there is room for expansion.

    The Pipes are continuously monitored by BT. If there is a fault or traffic goes above 80% BT will raise an issue and investigate the service.
    If the alarm indicates the problem may be linked to the school, we should work with the school to resolve - This is an area we will strengthen.
    We can talk to schools about the size of their pipes.
  • Reliability of School to Broadband Service
    All High Schools have a spare back up pipe - which not as big as the main pipe will maintain essential services if the main pipe fails.
    Primary and Special schools do not have a second pipe.
  • Speed and Reliability of Core Broadband Service
    The core broadband service is made up of large pipes operating at 1 Gig and are shared by schools and NCC. The maximum usage is 30%.
    The pipes are linked together at key places around Norfolk in such a way that if one pipe fails traffic will continue by another pipe.
  • Speed and Reliability of current connections to the Internet
    There are two pipes running from the broadband service to London, each operating at 180 Mbp/s. Giving a total capacity of 360 Mbp/s
    When we investigated performance problems we found too much traffic going down one pipe causing slow service for some schools. We have subsequently levelled out the usage between pipes achieving a maximum of 70% utilisation.
    In the event of one pipe failing all traffic would be routed via the other pipe.
  • Speed and Reliability - London to the Internet
    We have one main pipe from London to the Internet which is always full. This is causing the bad performance for schools.
    Although there is a second 250Mbp/s Internet pipe this is only used if the first pipe fails.

    What are we doing to improve the service?
  • We have increased the Internet pipe from London from 250Mbp/s to 300Mbp/s.
  • We are relocating the facility in London to Norwich and providing an upgraded Internet pipe operating at 1Gbp/s.
  • Subject to final agreement this work will take place during August 2011 depending on costs and risk to service.
  • We are consulting with schools to avoid disruption of service during any periods of downtime in particular to avoid periods of high demand such as exam results weeks.

    Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)

    Norfolk County Council successfully bid for a share of a £530 million Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funding pot to invest in making superfast broadband available in areas with no or poor access.

    This gives us £15 million from BDUK, £15m from NCC and the private sector is expected to commit £30million.

    Support for the bid came from local business, communities, Norfolk's MPs and district councils. As well as predicting the economic benefits the bid also outlined the other social advantages of better broadband including helping to improve educational opportunities and attainment, reduce social exclusion, lower carbon dioxide emissions and traffic congestion by enabling more home working and provide online alternatives to travelling to meetings, the bank and the supermarket.

    The successful bid allows us to go to procurement, we will work with BDUK to develop a framework contract that others will be able to use.

    We will seek 2MB for the whole county with Superfast Broadband (average 30MB) for as much of the county as possible within the funds. The tender will be technology neutral because we want providers to innovate and offer appropriate solutions.

    NCC is also seeking more money for development of infrastructure for industry.

    Benefits for everyone including schools

    The level of coverage and competition will lead to reduced prices when the current contract is renewed.

    NCC hopes to award a contract with a supplier by September 2012 with work on the ground starting soon afterwards.