East Lothian Council shaves £175,000 off network costs

East Lothian Council has saved £175,000 a year by switching from its previous £500,000 contract with BT

East Lothian Council has saved £175,000 a year by switching from its £500,000 networking contract with BT.

The cost of the BT contract had increased by 30% since the five-year deal was signed. “Fundamentally, we wanted a fixed-cost solution. The BT network was brilliant, but extortionately expensive,” said Alan Cruikshank, IT services manager at East Lothian Council.

The new wide area network (WAN) infrastructure, built and managed by Updata, will provide network connectivity to both school and council corporate sites and support the council’s plans for transition to an accredited Public Services Network (PSN).

The 10-100Mbps network will also help the council to accelerate the roll-out of home working initiatives for employees, which forms part of its wider commitment to reduce operational costs and onsite overheads.

The BT network was brilliant, but extortionately expensive

Alan Cruikshank, IT services manager, East Lothian Council

Cruikshank said the PSN-ready network would dovetail into its future plans. “It should also provide us with ability for other public sector organisations to come on board in the future,” he said.

Sites will be connected through ethernet, fibre and next-generation access. Schools are expected to join the network by the end of August 2012 and the council corporate sites will follow later this year.

The new network is expected to provide a greater degree of resilience and increased uptime to the existing school network, which previously suffered from outages as one school on the network affected others. Now the exchanges have been unbundled to join together in a loop in the event of individual outages.

It will also provide a platform for the council's property consolidation programme. Previously, high charges were incurred when network links needed to be rerouted or shut down because of changes in East Lothian Council’s operational structure.

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