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BLN3 FAQ's

What is the Bradford Learning Network?

The BLN has provided education focused internet to schools since 2002. Over this time the way the BLN is delivered has changed with enhancements in technology, but the core values of the BLN have stayed the same – To deliver state of the art, safe internet access to all learners at the best possible price.

The Bradford Learning Network is a not for profit provider of education focused internet provision for schools. The BLN is governed by the School Reference Group (SRG) consisting of Headteachers, Deputy Headteachers and Governors. The Technical Reference Group (TRG) supports the SRG along with the BLN dedicated team within City of Bradford MDC.

What is covered by my BLN contract?

Our key aim is to ensure that the contract offers value for money, but also that the supplier delivers state of the art technology. A further critical concern is to ensure that the network effectively supports Headteachers to meet their responsibilities regarding the management of data security. Finally, we feel it is important that there is an option for schools to buy into an entry level package and then make this bespoke to their needs with additional extras, therefore only paying for what they use.

Your contract will include your connection, the required hardware, a Smoothwall box hosted inside your school, access to the services at the core of the network and support.  Advanced support, such as access to the E-ICT service desk, is charged at an additional fee.

Who is my contract with?

Your BLN3 contract is with Bradford Council who then has a single contract for all customers with Virgin Media. Your dedicated BLN Team manages this contract with Virgin Media including monitoring of service levels and looking for other added value services we can bring to you. This simplifies the contracting process and has contributed towards the savings we have been able to pass onto you.  All invoicing will be done through CBMDC.

How long will my contract last?

To maximize the savings available to schools when we procured the current contract, the SRG requested a 3 year contract term.  This contract is due to finish on the 31 March 2019.  As each joining school falls under this main contract, all schools contracts will be until March 2019 regardless of their start date.

Why charge for a connection and then a per pupil fee?

Underpinning the charging model to schools was the need to allow all schools access to fast and reliable connectivity whilst distributing the rest of the costs fairly across all sizes of schools.

Through consultation with the School Reference Group and looking at the balance of all the elements, a decision was made to charge a lump sum dependent on the size of connection chosen and then a £6 per pupil fee.

What entry level package and additional extras do I need?
This completely depends on the size of school, number of devices you have in your school and how you manage your network.

To support your decision making we can provide your school with a proposal that provides a breakdown of what we recommend your new BLN contract should include along with a summary of the associated costs.

Can I upgrade my connection during the contract?
You can upgrade your connection at any point during the contract period free of charge*.  You will be sent a pro rata invoice for the difference in the connection price.  The BLN team can provide you with graphs that show a history of your usage to help you decide what connection speed to upgrade to.  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get a copy of your graphs.
* Some schools may be limited to the connection speed they can upgrade to depending upon the size of the router they have installed.  If a router upgrade is required, this will be chargeable.

Why do you have 2 firewalls when other providers only offer 1?
The IPVPN network that all schools connect into offers collaboration between schools that are on the BLN.  This means that resources can be shared between schools without the traffic leaving the network making it a much more secure solution.  Because schools can have this link between each other, it is important that you also protect yourself from each other.  Therefore, you have one firewall which sits inside of your school and one at the core of the network which protects you from any external attacks.