BT in million-pound schools contract

BT and MLL Telecom have won a multi-million pound partnership contract to supply East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and its 174 primary schools with a managed radio wave network.

As part of the council's Next Generation Network (NGN) programme, the partnership will mean council offices and schools will get faster connections by combining fibre and radio antennae services. The faster, private, more secure network will potentially allow for voice over IP, BT said, as bandwidth can be increased and coverage extended very easily, including to the council's other 130 sites.

Mark Quartermaine, managing director, Government Services, BT Global Services UK, said in a statement: "The Next Generation Network will bring the Council benefits including greater levels of flexibility, greater bandwidth capacity, increased speed of delivery and lower cost of ownership compared to the alternative upgrades available. It represents the next step on the voice and data convergence strategy for ESCC."

MLL Telecom will supply point-to-point wireless connectivity through narrow beam connections between roof top antennas, allowing BT to extend its reach quickly and at low cost.

Councillor Bob Tidy, cabinet member for e-Government at ESCC, said in a statement: "This project will provide schools with a better broadband network at exactly the same cost. They will have vastly improved e-learning capacity without having a big slice taken off their school budgets."