The £20m seven-year network contract with Virgin
is expected to halve costs by connecting more than 400 schools, libraries, fire stations and other
public buildings across the county and beyond.
“We’ll see savings come through the aggregation of those sites, but also sharing hardware and
getting economies of scale through shared services,” said Noelle Godfrey, head of IT at
Cambridgeshire County Council.
It took a year to negotiate the plan between the five different local authorities, two fire and
rescue services and various volunteer groups.
“Cambridgeshire County Council led the procurement, but it was important that everyone brought
something to the partnership,” said Godfrey.
“Ultimately, the real savings are going to come from services and efficiencies. It’s not about
the technology, but what we can do with it and how it facilitates sharing buildings and joining
together,” she added.
“It will be important for things like VoIP [voice over IP] and the cloud,
and will enable us to take advantage of that going forward. We expect to make further cost savings
from this. It opens up the possibilities to do services differently,” said Godfrey.
“Price was really important to us, as we have enormous pressure in that area, but we also needed
someone to deliver the services we needed. Virgin understood the public sector requirements and the
concept of sharing in the bigger national
context of the PSN programme,” she said.