East London NHS Foundation Trust has signed a five-year superfast broadband deal with Virgin Media to enable it use more online technologies in the future.
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The fibre optic network will connect 50 of the Trust's sites, increasing speeds for desktop users fivefold to an average of 10Mbps. The new managed virtual private network replaces the trust's BT metro VPN.
The previous system had outages sometimes lasting days, with maximum speeds of just 34Mbps compared to the 1Gbps now available.
Jonathan Buchan, ICT Manager at the East London Trust, says the deal value with Virgin is roughly the same amount as the previous contract, but will provide the Trust with more increased capacity.
"The new connection speeds will be able to support future technology, such as VoIP and video conferencing. We also had things like telemedicine in mind when we were looking at the network. We wanted something to provide a building block," he said.
"The NHS uses a lot of hosted applications. We looked at various alternatives but found that ADSL-based solutions are just not as reliable or as fast as the fibre optic solution," Jonathan Buchan added.
"The other benefit was that the Ethernet VPN was the only product on the market that the trust could deliver straightaway without customising it or investing our time implementing. We now have resilience built into the network, with two connections to each site, so if one fails the other acts as a back-up," said Buchan.