Yorkshire Water is investing heavily in the latest managed IP communications network to improve the resiliency of its network, boost IT customer services to 2,500 employees and enable a more proactive approach to tackling problems when they arise.
It will begin installing the IP virtual private network in December in three-week sections, finishing at the end of the first quarter 2007.
The IP VPN will be managed by service provider ntl:Telewest Business as part of its £13bn UK-wide infrastructure. It will link up 130 Yorkshire Water sites and have a bandwidth of between 8Mbps and 1Gbps.
Yorkshire Water said that, once in place, the IP VPN would provide a secure, flexible, scalable and fully managed infrastructure.
James Lockwood, IT infrastructure manager, said that the new network would replace a wide area network built on a "hub and spoke" design, which means it has multiple single points of failure.
Project manager Matthew Rowe said that the project started in December 2005, when Yorkshire Water put out the tender. Since then, the firm has been carrying out due diligence and liaising with senior business representatives across many departments, including telemetry - which contains the key users of the new IP network - service management, infrastructure, procurement, legal and office governance.
Julian Holstead, IT service delivery manager at Yorkshire Water, said, "The organisation's single biggest business issue was a lack of IT ability at the 130 sites to run all the IT that the organisation needs. From the senior management down, they are all eager for this to work".
Holstead said that from a service point of view, the IP network would massively reduce calls to the IT service desk because ntl:Telewest will manage and monitor the service around the clock.
"It should get us to a position where we will be proactive if something goes wrong, rather than reactive," he said.
Lockwood added that the managed network will allow Yorkshire Water's IT team to concentrate on other projects, including working on a network switch strategy for the 130 sites.