Eight organisations including councils and a police authority in Gwent, Wales, have signed up to a shared service public sector network (PSN).
The participants, which comprise Aneurin Bevan Health Board, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Coleg Gwent, Gwent Police Authority, Monmouthshire County Council, Newport City Council and Torfaen County Borough Council, have all worked together to jointly design and develop the Gwent Network Neighbourhood Design (GNND).
In total they have spent about £14m on creating the 774 circuit network. The PSN is due to go live imminently, and the contract is set to last five years.
The network will form part of the Public Sector Broadband Aggregation (PSBA), a network that aims to connect all of Wales' hospitals, doctors' surgeries, local government offices, universities and further education colleges, along with many other public service provider organisations. The PSBA was launched in 2008.
The network will be provided and managed by ICT service provider Logicalis. It provides GNND members with high-capacity secure and scalable network connections across a range of connectivity options, and will deliver a full suite of voice, video and data services.
Steve Harding, chairman of GNND and assistant director of informatics for Aneurin Bevan Health Board, argued that this had a greater scale and ambition than other PSN network collaborations in the UK. "There are other projects being developed in other locations, but none that match the scale or ambition of the GNND. Ultimately, the network will provide the catalyst for significant change in working patterns across organisations," he said.
The new GNND group brings the most diverse range of organisations from one region onto PSBA, according to Harding, and each organisation has access to its own secure service environment.