Competition has been central to the mantra for telecoms and broadband in the UK since before the days of dial-up Internet but this does not appear to extend to the services offered by the charity London Grid for Learning (LGfL) where it appears the sole broadband provider choice is Virgin Media Business.
Rory Cellan-Jones has revealed in an exclusive article that at least one competitor to Virgin Media Business had a mail-shot blocked by the LGfL network after the emails were detected as spam. An important point is that these emails were not unsolicited but after individual schools had made initial contact with Exa Networks.
Exa Networks may not be a household name but it was offering a one year contract rather than a five year lock-in and pricing was substantially less at £3,500 in the first year and £2,500 if subsequent 12 month contracts are take-up, this compares to £7,462 per year with Virgin Media Business. The LGfL does provide additional content and tools beyond the broadband connection, but after a short visit to their website one wonders how useful they are when the main page of the site jumps back to the top a second or two after trying to scroll to the bottom of the page and numerous icon images are missing.
Spam blocking is a difficult job to get right 100% of the time, but when we read about an email a director of LGfL sent to schools in Ealing where schools were warned to be "beware of offers from companies such as Schools Broadband, RM, Exa, etc." and ""if you ARE stubbornly still tempted to waste your time looking elsewhere...", the thought that this email block may have been a more deliberate seems to gain credence.
Exa Networks are also a wholesale provider on the Gigaclear FTTH network which not available in the London Boroughs may provide some interesting opportunities for rural schools within the Gigaclear footprint.