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ISP Schools Broadband Offers 4G Solution to Get Kids Online

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 (1:49 pm) - Score 1,146

A specialist ISP for the UK education market, Schools Broadband, has today launched a new Mobile Broadband (4G or 5G) product to help digitally disadvantaged pupils with working from home, while still being able to receive the same security and “Prevent” compliant content filtering as they would if sat in a school.

The product, which stems from the provider’s partnership with mobile network operator Three UK, offers 30 day rolling contracts with tariffs from Pay As You Go (PAYG) and all the way up to unlimited data allowances; all of which include a “secure and content filtered 4G solution applicable for any educational establishment.”

Apparently you do not need to be an existing Schools Broadband customer in order to access this service.

David Tindall, CEO of Schools Broadband, said:

“We’re extremely proud of the solution we’ve created. Not only do we give specialised Internet access that keeps hundreds of thousands of pupils safe in the classroom, but we now extend their safe learning environment all the way into their homes.

Furthermore, it’s very affordable with prices comparable to the main carriers but with the added advantaged of including our managed security and content filtering solution. We have already managed to help over 1,000 disadvantaged pupils learn safely from home when in the past schools just could not afford to deliver safe 4G connectivity to their pupils.”

The associated product page doesn’t reveal much, although David informed ISPreview.co.uk that prices for this service start from just £9 per month for a 12GB (GigaByte) data allowance. Included is SSL decryption, which is said to be vitally important when monitoring key word searches for Prevent compliance and schools e-safety monitoring, as well as duty of care policies to protect children and young adults.

The solution is delivered via a private APN to the ISP, where they then put all data through their filtering and security platform so pupils can get the same level of filtering at home as they do at one of the provider’s connected schools (they can also offer this to “off-net” customers).

We should point out that this product is currently separate from the UK Government’s new 4G scheme for children (here), although that may change in the future. Sadly there’s currently no set time-line on the Government’s scheme, where as the one above is available immediately.

Leave a Comment
6 Responses
  1. Avatar Jack

    So they are doing Deep Packet Inspection on a ISP level …

    How are they allowed to get away by doing this, they are technically creating their own version of CCP’s GFW

    • Education networks are a different kettle of fish with tighter content access restrictions for obvious reasons, which is fairly normal.

    • Avatar T

      Um, wow. What an out of touch comment.
      Look up rm broadband and safetynet.
      Look up unicorn with Sophos filtering.

      Both education providers with in network enforced filtering.

      SSL interception is also common in corporate networks too.

    • Avatar Jack

      T, this product is meant to be used at home, not in school or work environments.

      Would you personally use a product that you pay for if the provider can see POST/GET request headers for both http & s.

      The company could just simply record anything that mentions Username & Password or even card details – I’m not saying they are, but their system can and what if they get compromised?

    • Avatar A_Builder

      Ummmmm

      The whole point of this product is that you are deliberately signing up for the filtering and packet inspection.

      That is what it says on the tin….

      It is not intended to be a general household solution.

      Personally I am interested in something like this for my kids iPads – doing your own content filtering is not that easy to do really thoroughly with SSL.

      Clearly I wouldn’t want this kind of a service on de iced I do confidential work/finance on.

      It is an open matter of choice.

  2. Avatar Buggerlugz

    Interesting, as the topic of Three using Deep Packet inspection has come up in the forums quite a lot recently. I do wonder if this is one reason the company is so keen on using Huawei kit, because it provides them with so much more opportunity to spy on its customers.

    I also wonder if its DPI is the reason for so many customers reporting web pages taking ages to resolve (or not at all) and high levels of packet loss with increasingly higher levels of latency?

    For example last night I saw over 800ms latency for a time and my MTU was reported as low as 1380 even though its set to 1500 on my router. Maybe Three’s traffic management’s DPI is taking too long at looking too deep into its customers data?

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