KBR Wireless Mesh and Town WiFi :Northumberland County Council
In spring 2008 KBR set out, in partnership with Northumberland County Council, to create wireless mesh coverage in eighteen towns and villages within the boundaries of Northumberland. Starting with Alnwick and shortly followed by Berwick, Prudhoe, Hexham and finally the main urban conurbations in South East Northumberland as well as Morpeth we created a resilient, cost effective wireless network not only offering a ten fold increase in bandwidth but also Wi-Fi to street level, outright ownership of the infrastructure and the flexibility to add and remove sites from the network as the council sold and acquired premises.
With no lengthy, tying contracts or excess construction charges the council save hundreds of thousands of pounds annually whilst at the same time benefiting from a network which is fully resilient, with no single point of failure, meets the agenda for flexible working, which in turn increases productivity, and reduces the council’s carbon footprint.
By providing connectivity in to the council network from hundreds of sites around the council we have now provided the platform on which the office is brought to the employee. Many wasted journeys travelling back to headquarters to download a file or update their records, helpdesk calls or retrieve important archived or live electronic information can now be achieved by connecting wirelessly to the council network using their county wide SSID. Sitting in a car park, market place, or even down by the riverside council employees can use their handheld wireless devices to connect securely to their network using secure tunnelling and centralised authentication
Such was the success of the rollout, KBR won the contract for the remaining towns and we are now installing wireless mesh infrastructures in to Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Cramlington and Morpeth. In addition to this the villages of Amble, Ponteland and Seahouses are also benefitting from the technology.
With well over 200 sites installed, the wireless mesh provides wireless connectivity to an area in excess of 250 square kilometres. Many different stakeholders can potentially benefiting from this type of wireless network infrastructure such as the blue light services, CCTV, local business, broadband not-spots and social inclusion projects. Northumberland are now investigating the potential to provide connectivity to more than one hundred of their home workers, replacing the requirement for expensive BT solutions by utilising the Wi-Fi connectivity provide as a direct result of installing the mesh infrastructure and in the process saving substantial sums of money for the authority.
KBR provide Northumberland County Council with their own support portal. This alerts the experienced KBR technical support team of any issues 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. With tight SLA agreements we can deploy well trained, expert installation and technical experts to the location of any potential issues within minutes of the issue being detected.
The network has very low operating costs, is an asset owned outright by Northumberland County Council and offers significant return on investment. In addition the council now has a fully resilient network infrastructure with Wi-Fi connectivity to street level. Adding new sites, from large and small schools to highways depots, libraries, charitable organisations, home workers, adult training centres, children’s centres and fire stations is both rapid and straight forward. There is no need to run cables under the ground or dig up streets to provide connectivity and the investment is secure since the wireless hardware can very easily be redeployed at an alternative premises should the need arise.
The wireless network KBR has provided, offers a secure foundation for economic development, increased tourism, benefitting local business and council staff whilst helping to meet the council's green agendas and flexible working initiatives.
As a result KBR's solution won Northumberland County Council the "Better Ways of Working" award at the 2010 National E-Well Being Awards.
Please click here for more information.
Please click here to view the case study.