Cambridgeshire County Council has signed a seven-year public sector network (PSN) contract with Virgin Media Business, estimated to be worth £30m.
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The multi-gigabit network will connect the region's 250 schools, 90 corporate sites and 69 community outlets. The deal will also improve broadband across the area's 250 schools to 10Mbps in its primary and 100Mbps in its secondary schools. Previously, the region's primary schools were running on 2Mbps and its secondary schools on 10-24Mbps at a higher cost than the new contract.
Faster networks and cost savings
Cambridgeshire County councillor Linda Oliver said the PSN deal will provide faster, more cost-effective networks to enable public services across Cambridgeshire to deliver more efficient services. "Shared networking will keep costs down, delivering more for less while providing real benefits for our communities," she said.
Noelle Godfrey, head of IT for Cambridgeshire County Council, said the council expected to make significant savings. "The point of this exercise is collaboration with other public service partners. The benefits of economies of scale will come through aggregation. This is an opportunity to deliver services in a different way and look at how we can cut further costs by sharing building spaces," she said.
"It will also help with multi-disciplinary approaches. For example, we had a join-up between police and social services around arson prevention. But it was difficult to deliver as staff needed to access material on their own systems. With the connectivity we now have, they will be able to do things like access material from one site rather than having several networks," Godfrey added.
The partnership includes Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire & Rescue Service, as well as the voluntary and community sector represented by the Cambridge Citizen's Advice Bureau.