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BT to supply European air navigation network

BT has been selected to provide the upgraded air traffic management network across Europe

BT has been awarded a decade-long contract to provide the network for air traffic management (ATM) communications to Eurocontrol.

Following a tender, BT was selected by Eurocontrol for the10-year contract, worth around £50m, that will see it will manage a network across 47 countries and 100 locations. The network will ensure data flows are secure and reliable, with availability up to 99.999% where needed.

The New Pan-European Network Service (NewPENS), as it is known, is used by ATM organisations across Europe. NewPENS is the successor to PENS, which was launched in December 2009.

The sites belonging to the current PENS users, as well as Eurocontrol, will gradually be transferred in clusters to NewPENS between October 2018 and 30 November 2019, when the current PENS contract expires. The latest network is built on BT’s IP network with connections using dual core infrastructure.

“With air traffic on the rise, NewPENS will provide solid support to European aviation, securing cross-border network connections and underpinning safety-critical applications,” said Eamonn Brennan, director general at Eurocontrol.

Users of the new network, which has sophisticated cyber security technology built in, include the military, ATM providers, airlines, airports, and meteorological services.

Bas Burger, CEO of global services at BT, said the need for secure and highly reliable communications has never been greater. “The networking infrastructure we will put in place for the NewPENS community will ensure ultra-high levels of resilience and security for air traffic controllers to help them guide planes safely to their destinations,” he said.

Maurice Georges, director of the French air navigation service provider DSNA, added that the new network’s technical service catalogue will evolve as technology advances and business requirements change. “Its newly designed architecture will ensure an increased level of end-to-end control and authority,” he said.

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