We often get asked similar questions by many of our schools and customers so we have put together some useful FAQ’s as a bit of a myth busting exercise. Please take a look and if you still have questions, then feel free to get in touch. We are always adding to this part of our website, so do check back regularly to see the latest updates:

Yes. In November 2012, embc changed the way it offered connectivity and services to schools from our suppliers; it became emPSN, whilst retaining embc as the school’s brand, widening the range of suppliers for connectivity and services, changed the way that schools bought their services.

No. Whilst the majority of our schools and members are in the East Midlands region, we can provide connectivity and services wherever they are required.

Being on the emPSN network provides schools with the added security of a fully managed firewall, data is protected and 24/7 network monitoring which reviews the traffic on the network, so that you can be assured that faults are fixed with minimum disruption to your school; in most cases before there is any impact on teaching and learning. Being an emPSN customer means that schools can connect to other schools on the emPSN network without going over the internet, making communications and data transfers safer. Find out more about our network connection.

Other benefits include:

  • emPSN is a PSN Accredited network in the East Midlands
  • Highest standards in the UK

embc Direct is a service offered by emPSN which enables customers to place orders for multiple items on the emPSN Catalogue via emPSN. We will deal with all of your orders for you and invoice you with one bill to cover everything, simplifying the whole process for you. Additionally, as an emPSN customer we will provide you with an additional point of escalation, should there be a need. The cost of this service is only £150 per year. To take up this offer please call the emPSN office on 01604 879869 or email empsn@empsn.org.uk

Connectivity is what connects your school to the internet and world wide web, otherwise known as your school’s internet connection or broadband. emPSN use broadband technology to provide a connectivity service that includes the basic technology, plus additional features, such as a fully managed connection with a 24/7 network support centre and service desk, we provide firewall services and we provide access to all sorts of extra services

The term ‘application services’ goes back to the definition that they are applications that are offered as a service over your connectivity, whether emPSN provide them or they are accessed over the internet. Application services are additional products that work over your connectivity, to provide features such as email filtering, web filtering, web hosting, BYOD and other services.

No. A common misunderstanding that we receive from schools is that connectivity services and applications are one and the same. This is not the case. They are normally separate contracts taken out at different times with different providers.

The majority of emPSN schools will be connected to the internet using a Nasstar (formerly KCOM) managed BT connection via the emPSN network. We do have some schools that are connected via Virgin Media Business. If you are not sure who your connectivity provider is to your school, please contact us.

Nasstar offer an on network speed test resource which can be used from any connected emPSN site.  Nasstar have published instructions on how to run a Speed Test here at KCOM Speed Test.

A guide to KCOM’s Circuit Types can be found by downloading the pdf KCOM Guide to Circuit Types


If you have an issues relating to your connectivity then please contact the Nasstar (formerly KCOM) Service Desk on 0845 122 6873 or via email servicedesk@kcom.com and KCOM portal http://portal.kcom.com. If you do not have a login for the portal, please contact the Nasstar service desk and they will set this up for you.

However, if you are a Lincolnshire school then the following applies;

If you are a Phase1 school then contact the Nasstar Service Desk (see above for details) . If your service provider is F1 or Ark please contact them directly. All other schools should contact the Serco Service Desk on 01522 836163.



You need to know who currently supplies your application services to your school; here are the companies that emPSN work with on a brokerage agreement basis:


BT offer an internet connection only. emPSN offer a connection from Nasstar (formerly KCOM)  via the emPSN network. Find out more about the emPSN network connection.

The Contact and Escalation document is the Capita Contact Guide detailing the contact and escalation route for service issues. If you have an issue with your OpenHive service please contact the Capita desk on 03330 150 212 and please ensure you log a call and obtain a call reference number. emPSN is unable to escalate any service escalations unless the escalation route has been followed.


It is a Fibre Optic network circuit connecting your site to the emPSN network, which is a fully symmetrical service allowing the bandwidth capability of 100Mbps upload and 100Mbps download at the same time.

To test and demonstrate the capability of this you can perform a speed test yourself.  For an optimal speed test you should uses a computers wired connection plug directly into the managed router, the computer should be a high specification, running nothing other than the speed test tool – so all AV, apps, tools etc. should be disabled.  All these factors can affect the test results and a low specification computer may not even be able to test close to or above 100Mbps.

There are several factors that would influence the minor differences in speed test results. This will mainly be due to the other small amounts of data being sent which frames the overall package, in addition to the actual data being transferred. The point on the school network at which the work station that the measurement of speed takes place and of course any other traffic from other users using the connection at the time the speed test is carried out will effect results.  If for example a speed test is performed on a work station, connected by Wi-Fi or even over the school LAN, this will affect the results.

Nasstar offer an on network speed test from the emPSN data centre using the address  Use of other Internet based speed test tools may vary in performance, load and quality. If your speed test does not return a result within 5% percent of the 100Mbps, there is potentially an issue with your connectivity service.  This should be reported to KCOM via https://portal.kcom.com


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