Cable & Wireless lands PSN intranet deal

The British telecoms company will provide a secure intranet and platform for email, web hosting and applications for more than 600 public-sector agencies using the PSN
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Cable & Wireless Worldwide has landed a deal to provide email, web hosting, applications and other web-based services to government bodies using the Public Services Network.

The two-year framework agreement, announced on Wednesday, calls on the Berkshire-based company to set up a platform for communications between government departments and other public-sector service providers. Its cloud-based services include email, web hosting, security, applications, data information and knowledge-sharing tools. It also encompasses a centralised portal and remote presentation services.

The platform will connect — via the Public Services Network (PSN) — 400 local authorities, more than 180 central government bodies, 43 police forces and the NHS, Cable & Wireless said. Eventually, the intranet will carry more than 100 million emails a month and will be used by the UK's six million public-sector workers, the company added.

It will also have an Application Resource Centre (ARC), which provides a way for small businesses to sell applications for shared services across government.

"It will play an important role in the modernisation of public services by enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of day-to-day interactions with citizens and businesses," Cable & Wireless said in a statement. "This contract builds on the close partnership the company has established with the UK government in developing the Public Services Network."

The PSN is a 'network of networks' for the public sector that builds on existing commercial networks and uses open standards-based services to encourage secure collaboration between employees. The government hopes to save £500m a year on its IT spend by the time it is fully set up in 2014.

I am optimistic about... how PSN will enable us to deliver better IT services for a massive reduction in end cost to government.
– Chris Chant, Cabinet Office

Cable & Wireless already provides a Government Secure intranet (GSi), and the transition away from this is expected to be completed by February. The company said the new platform will provide more robust security and increased bandwidth for a lower cost than the existing GSi.

The move is part of the government's push to find IT savings using cloud-based services, noted Chris Chant, an executive director at the Cabinet Office.

"I am optimistic about... how PSN will enable us to deliver better IT services for a massive reduction in end cost to government, and I think we can make a huge contribution in doing that through cloud services," Chant said, quoted in the Cable & Wireless statement.

"I see the assets supporting this framework offering an environment suitable for hosting cloud applications through ARC; it offers a procurement route and the security around apps without customers having to provide capital up front for a service," he said.

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