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back to article Schools and hospitals to be tapped for superfast broadband

The government is discussing opening up public sector internet infrastructure to bring down the cost of introducing faster broadband nationwide. The talks could create initiatives such as connecting fibre links owned by NHS hospitals and schools to local homes and businesses. Broadband minister Ed Vaizey said exploring such …

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I can see a problem with this

If we are sharing the NHS fibre, then what is to stop some entrprising script kiddie from tapping the NHS data? Genuine question, I have no real idea how the system is intended to work.

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Unlikely - probably a stupid thing to worry about actually :)

Whoever originally rented the cable will have a private network connection. Most likely as part of a WAN. This will provide all the isolation needed. Their packets will simply not be routed down the new cable and there will be no way for the 'piggy backers' to gain access to that network.

This is pretty standard networking fare. Everyone's data shares a physical cable with someone else' all the time - that's a fundamental feature of packet switched networks.

In fact most likely those 'piggy backers' end up on the same physical cable anyway. Leased lines nearly always connect back to the nearest telephone exchange so will probably use the same physical backhaul. From a network topology point of view it makes little difference.

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IT Angle

Encryption...

... is the answer. You really think the NHS would use unencrypted data? I know they lost a few USB sticks or CD's but that doesn't mean their network isn't protected.

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FAIL

Yeah good luck with that

floating punters internet access over N3 - yeah that's gonna work. Why not replace spine with a twitter feed while your at it?

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Great idea.

Being done in the US:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/03/how-1gbps-fiber-came-to-clevelands-poorest-free-of-charge.ars

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Seems sensible

Looks likea win-win for the consumer, not only would there be increased capacity available but another provider would not only be able to put pressure on the amount BT charges (and cover a similar area unlike Virgin) but any profit made would go back into the state, thus lowering the tax burden on those very consumers. As long as driving down prices doesn't starve BT of funds to invest in infrastructure...

I'm guessing it will have a side effect of reducing the number and length of roadworks so can't be bad.

The Libs must be going dizzy with this outbreak of common sense and Lab MPs are going to starve as less union members mean less subs.

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Anonymous Coward

could be a good idea...

talking about wasted infrastructure.... in a whole host of my schools the local council had fibre laid 3 years ago...

ALL of those fibre links are now obsolete! wuth the council reusing the old copper ISDN links for the broadband! im not sure on bandwith comparisons, but it just sickens me to see all that new equipment just sitting there unused...

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WTF?

WTF

What sentient being would want to replace fibre links of almost unlimited capacity and low running costs, once installed, with quick and dirty copper solutions whose only redeeming feature is that they exploit existing infrastructure and do not require the installation of the new infrastructure that has already been installed. It sounds completely bonkers.

Where I suspect this is happening (like my locality) it is because some bright spark with another agenda from another budget is diverting the schools funding to leverage another initiative based on copper. So e.g the council has a LLU project for other purposes, like connecting up the council's offices, which it leverages by downgrading the schools connections to make its LLU project viable. If this is going on the stupidity lies in the fact that future upgrades to the schools bandwidth will be massively more expensive. The correct alternative was to use the schools funding, which was more than ample, to create a proper schools fibre network, owned or leased and then run the other activities across the schools backbone. This would have been perfectly rational legal and economical.

Where it alls go wrong is when some snake oil vending pillock of an outsourced contractor strolls in and in Harry Enfield's best mockney says, "You don't wanna do that!" and flogs them a poxy ADSL solution running at 50:1 domestic levels of contention. They fall for it every time

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Go

A witty title

Yes, sounds like a good idea to me too and after all, we paid for the NHS fiber.

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WTF?

More Myths and technical confusion

As a rank amateur over whose balding pate most of this nonsense passes incomprehensibly and uncomprehended my impression is as follows:

The schools sector and probably the NHS own hardly any fibre at all, even the last few metres largely belongs to the telcos. Because the reach of cable is confined to the urban areas and health and education are provided almost everywhere, most of the physical networks and circuits, even when sold by other providers, actually belong to BT. So to my remote neck of the woods the JANET network for the colleges, local authority and schools runs over two 1 Gbps circuits sold and managed by two different Telcos (neither of them BT). Neither of those Telcos owns any fibre in the county, the only one that does is BT and those circuits are both leased from BT. In truth of course the two resilient circuits actually run over the same fibre. This is a rather extreme case but not so far removed from the norm.

Largely it is a nonsense to say that the big public sector networks will be opened to everyone else, because the big public sector networks run over the shared BT and Cable Co infrastructure already. Tis all smoke and mirrors. Janet does not as a rule own fibre. It leases telco circuits over fibre which anyone else can use and the capacity of that fibre is practically limitless.

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@Optymystic

There are definitely places where the public sector is leasing a sub duct with dark fibre in. Reuse can mean lighting the fibre strand and sharing the cost of the lease... much cheaper than the alternative of leasing a whole new sub duct or digging a new trench.

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Places - really - well there's a compelling argument

I understand the Manchester universities owned their own fibre under the streets of Manchester and Coventry has an integrated multi-purpose network, though I am actually unclear on the ownership of the latter.

Your examples are?

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Unhappy

Not all that cheap

..don't forget the tax you have to pay when you shine a light down fibre. Only BT get a special discount on that.

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@Optymystic

Example 1: Several schools in Lancashire.

Example 2: NyNet

More needed? I have lots.

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Joining the slow lane !

That's clever, let all and sundry access the Nospeed3 network, blimey, we can't even access anything via the slowband now. N3 Gateway is already swamped with Streamed traffic, They would be better off with Dial-up !

Between 10 and 4 even this venerable website times-out......N3 needs an upgrade, and not being swamped with even more irrelevant traffic

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Paris Hilton

And Virgin get away with it again

So they're going to force the NHS, BT, water and electricity firms to open up their ducts. No mention (again) of Virgin. Round hereabouts the councils and Yorkshire Forward (doomed) are digging all over to put a fibre network in. How oh so many miles of that is going to run parallel to VM? Not that much as a percentage 'cos Yorkshire Cable never went outside the housing estates but why oh why isn't EVERYONE who owns a duct forced to share it?

Paris, 'cos she's happy to share her duct.

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Anonymous Coward

Small...

VM's network is quite small in comparison remember, no forgetting their capacity issues they seem to be having. Would you like to be throttled by some other ISP other than your own? I think not.

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Culture, schmulture.

"The reason we're not nailed to a particular speed is because this is a moving feast," he said.

Or perhaps a moveable target?

Dear God, this clown is Culture Secretary.

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Unhappy

It's not really about the backbone is it

the backbone can always be supplemented when required, it doesnt make any difference how much "infrastructure" we (as a country) build. Until we have something more than a wet pair of strings connecting our homes to the backbone all of this is moot

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