New Public Sector Network to help London schools cut costs

The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) has signed a Public Sector Network (PSN) framework contract with Virgin Media Business which it says will deliver cost savings of up to two-thirds for schools connected to the network.

More than 2000 schools in the capital will be transferred to the new, fibre optic LondonPSN between April 2011 and June 2012. The new network replaces a decade-old contract with broadband network provider Synetrix, which is part of Capita.

Brian Durrant, chief executive for the not-for-profit LGfL Trust, said that the new contract enables secondary schools across the capital to have access to a 100 Mbps bandwidth for a third of the price, over the course of a year, of the previous Synetrix contract. Primary schools will also be able to access 10 Mbps broadband, instead of just five megabits, for half the price.

Furthermore, Durrant said that the managed services nature of the new contract means that the consortium wipes out a core network cost of £1.8 million a year, which will now be recovered from edge services. The LGfl is also procuring antivirus software as a single client for its schools, which it said was 90 percent cheaper than if each school purchased their own.

Durrants comments are supported by a Wandsworth Council study last year, ‘Report on the value for money of the London Grid for Learning’, which found that procuring through the LFfL could save London schools up to £131 million a year.

In addition to the education sector, LGfL is opening up the LondonPSN to other local government organisations across the 33 London boroughs, to allow them to procure voice, data technology and related ICT services.

The impact of the central government cuts mean that councils, for example, are automating more and moving more services online, in an effort to achieve cost and time efficiencies, and a recent Socitm survey revealed a strong appetite for the PSN.

“As public sector organisations are faced with ever more challenging efficiency targets, the ability to securely share services across council or government departments will be a considerable benefit.

“By using the new LondonPSN procurement, any local authority will be able to avoid the high cost of running yet another procurement and purchase services that will harness efficiencies as well as benefit from more affordable prices.”

Camden Council is set to be one of the firstto connect to the PSN.

Socitm, the local council IT managers’ association, recently said that the Public Sector Network (PSN), a secure private network for the public sector, has ‘huge potential’ to provide savings through shared infrastructure and services.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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