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Highways England awards telecoms service contract to Telent

Network upgrade will enable Highways England to prepare for technologies such as 5G and connected cars

Highways England has contracted UK technology and network service provider Telent Technology Services to operate the fibre-optic network that helps to monitor major roads.

Telent said the seven-year deal to operate and manage the National Roads Telecommunication Services (NRTS) is worth more than £500m. Staff currently working on the contract will transfer to Telent under TUPE regulations.

Beginning next year, Telent will work with Highways England to transform the NRTS network and roll out the latest grade network technology, which will support new telecommunication services.  

Telent has been a supplier to Highways England for 20 years.

NRTS is part of the national infrastructure that supports a 4,400-mile road network in England. Telent will provide a 24-hour managed service from an operations centre near Birmingham.

The system connects Highways England’s seven regional control centres with more than 30,000 roadside devices, including CCTV cameras, message signs, emergency roadside phones and smart motorway equipment. It comprises about 6,000 miles of fibre and copper networks, 145 transmission stations and almost 5,000 roadside cabinets.

Tony Malone, CIO at Highways England, said the new network service will enable the organisation to harness the latest technology. “Telent will help Highways England deliver a service that will provide improvements in safety, customer service and delivery, as well as enable us to support emerging technologies such as connected vehicles and 5G,” he said.

Highways England said the service must provide continuity and the ability to undertake a transformation programme without affecting the service, and reduce roadside maintenance activity. The upgrade will support the introduction of new services such as wireless and IP CCTV.

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