Schools in pay-per-use IT deal

Lincolnshire Education Authority has employed a "subscription computing" model for IT provision at the first of a series of new...

Lincolnshire Education Authority has employed a "subscription computing" model for IT provision at the first of a series of new schools to be opened in the county.

The authority took advantage of a cost-per-seat-per-month service being offered by BT and Computacenter, in which the partners provide everything from setting up the local area network to managing the infrastructure.

The subscription computing concept is being promoted by suppliers but few in either the public or private sector have invested in it.

Cheryl Berry, director of education for Lincolnshire, sees clear advantages for education.

"It will allow teachers to concentrate on teaching and keep schools at the leading edge technologically, where they usually lag behind," she said.

"The method of payment allows us to spread costs where we would usually have to wait a period of years for capital funds to become available and having IT expertise readily available is invaluable for us," she added.

For about £160 per user per month the suppliers provide all hardware and software, including printers, scanners and faxes on a network capable of running Voice over IP, but not core application requirements such as enterprise resource planning or database systems.

The networks are remotely monitored with deskside support provided when needed.

Under the three-year contracts the suppliers buy the customer's existing assets and replace them with new equipment.

At the end of the period the customer can either buy the assets or extend the agreement.

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