Despite outsourcing to Vanco, which buys and manages network provision on behalf of user companies, Reed specified that it wanted to use BT infrastructure for reasons of continuity in the current economic climate.
Following the collapse of KPNQwest and WorldCom, analysts have advised businesses to closely question network providers about how their communications will be routed so they are not left high-and-dry should the telco run into financial difficulties.
Network provision is mission-critical to Reed, so it paid particular attention to financial stability when it invited tenders from eight network providers following the end of a contract with BT.
Sean Whetstone, technical manager at Reed, said, "We found out that many of the companies that tendered were in financial difficulties. We wanted stability, flexibility and the latest technology. We will be getting more bandwidth, management and back-up for the same amount of money we were spending already."
Vanco will use BT infrastructure to provide DSL with ISDN back-up to Reed's 180-site wide area network, replacing a legacy network largely based on 64kbps links.
Reed will have control over which carrier's infrastructure is used and review the situation after one year.
"BT is the best for DSL, and with the uncertainty and problems at other telcos it was seen as a safe haven," said Whetstone.
Reed is moving from client-server to an intranet and Web-based environment. Higher bandwidth is required to drive new products.