Reseller Stone has entered the ISP space in a bid to offer its schools customers a full portfolio of technology.
Stone Connected, which is available to its 5,000 schools and college customers immediately, offers education establishments an alternative to buying from the Regional Broadband Consortium or their local authorities. Stone's offering gives schools the chance to buy a broadband connection, management and support directly from the reseller.
Stone's group marketing director Daley Robinson told CRN that customers have been keen for the firm to provide broadband services.
"From our perspective, things are increasingly moving to the cloud," he said. "We're already supplying thousands of devices to schools and the feedback was that it would be good if we got actual internet access so people can come to us for infrastructure, devices and connectivity – an end-to-end [offering] with one supplier accountable for it all.
"It is obviously increasing in all industries, but in education, cloud is massive and it makes sense [for us] given Stone's heritage. We're already heavily involved in filtering, monitoring and management in schools... so it seems like a natural evolution to get to that point where we provide an end-to-end [offering]."
Some other education resellers have a similar offering for schools, but Robinson added that Stone's offering will stand out.
"For us, it's all about flexibility," he said. "We like to think we're more consultative than just saying 'if you pay X, you get Y'. With the academies movement [for example], every school is different and the way they want to access [tech] varies massively. It is not one size fits all."
Stone announced its arrival in the ISP space at this year's Bett show, which kicks off today. The reseller also announced the arrival of Stone Assist, a range of IT support solutions for primary schools, and Stone Unity, a cloud product designed specifically for multi-academy trusts.
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