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Energy giant EDF is to embark on a multi-million pound network upgrade across its generation facilities in the UK.
The project will span nine offices, three datacentres and 11 power stations, for which EDF signed a ten-year contract with networking and mobile supplier Vodafone to transform its communications infrastructure.
The remodelling of its existing network will support the creation of a digital platform to help EDF realise its so-called 2020 vision for its power generation business. The 2020 programme centres on environmental sustainability and rebuilding consumer trust in the energy sector.
The platform is intended to improve training systems, support regulatory compliance and introduce flexibility into how EDF’s staff work.
“We were looking for a partner to help us with a double challenge – upgrading our network while bringing greater transparency, control and stability to the investment needed to maintain the network,” said EDF’s head of infrastructure and IT operations, Nigel Pettifer.
“This long-term agreement meets our objectives and helps to create a partnership that will minimise risk and maintain innovation.”
The network is set to provide four times more bandwidth than EDF has at its disposal today, enabling employees to use services such as videoconferencing and embrace collaborative working practices more readily.
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Vodafone will add enhanced Wi-Fi capabilities at all the facilities covered by the agreement, to support the elimination of paper-based systems and the introduction of tablets and smartphones into EDF’s workflow processes. Vodafone will provide on-site support teams to back up EDF’s in-house IT staffers.
Behind the upgrade programme will sit a commercial model between EDF and Vodafone, intended to eliminate future communications-related capital expenditure needs at EDF power stations for the lifetime of the contract.
“Bringing commercial certainty to the deal has allowed long-term stability of investment for EDF Energy and makes planning a simpler process,” said Nick Jeffery, chief executive of Vodafone’s Enterprise group.
“Innovation is at the heart of this success. Not just innovation in the use of technologies, but innovation in the commercial structure of the agreement.”