Surrey County Council has hired BT to bring together at least 20 of its public services onto one network.
BT will replace up to 40 separate networks to provide internet, fixed telephony, wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN) and contact centre services on one public services network (PSN). BT will also offer unified communications to organisations that want it, as well as cloud services.
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The network will be made available to all public services in Surrey and its neighbouring county Berkshire. BT claims it will cut costs by up to £750,000 a year, compared with the previous networking deployments.
The initial contract between Surrey Council and BT will last for seven years but, if all goes well, there is an option to extend it by a further five years.
Denise Le Gal, the cabinet member for change and efficiency at Surrey County Council, said: “We firmly believe public services should be seen as a single team co-operating to make taxpayers' money go further wherever possible and this deal with BT will save the county council alone up to £5.25m over the seven-year contract.”
Once the network has been established, the Surrey Council hopes to extend the network to libraries and schools, as well as voluntary organisations or emergency services who may want to take advantage of the technology and cost savings.
“This agreement is a major step forward in the realms of public sector networking,” said Neil Rogers, president of the global government division within BT Global Services.
“It offers a true cloud service across a number of applications enabling the council and its partners to be more agile, collaborative and connected to their citizens and to take advantage of the lower cost of operation.
“We are enthused by the programme itself and congratulate those involved in its inception in the region.”