What do you get for £90m?

The great Hampshire network overhaul

How a £90m project created the most digitally progressive public services in the UK, shaped the way PSN Frameworks develop - and saved £1m a year.

Hampshire. One of England’s most diverse counties with not only two national parks but two of Europe’s largest city ports, Southampton and Portsmouth. As well as 230 miles of coastline with that awkwardly spelt 150 square mile landmass not far from the mainland, namely the Isle of Wight.

Reducing the public expenditure

Hampshire Isle of Wight (HIOW) County Council needed a new network to replace ageing infrastructure, but the solution was never going to be as simple as ripping out old wires and replacing them with new ones. Not when faced with a challenge as complex as connecting over 1,000 sites, many with different demands and expectations. Health trusts wanted better communications between sites. Schools envisaged greater internet bandwidth within a safer environment. For fire and rescue services reliability was all-important. There was also the small matter of Hampshire Country Council looking to reduce overall public expenditure.

The £90m project that resulted was one of the largest collaborative procurements in UK history and went on to fashion the way PSN Frameworks developed.


With such diverse stakeholder needs we proposed a dedicated, PSN-compliant solution that would give HIOW what it needed, but with the flexibility to allow different elements of infrastructure to evolve separately.

Novation before migration

Even before contracts were signed or money handed over, our pre-sales team, together with the client, concluded the best approach would be to novate HIOW’s existing network. Migrating to our network would wait, allowing more time for everyone to scope requirements and provide a cost-effective solution to meet them.

When the time was right, a dedicated, on-site transition team ensured HIOW’s migration to our network was managed efficiently.  When that was complete, growth and optimisation became the next challenge. Our answer was a dedicated services desk and program team.

Several months on, HIOW was a region transformed. It’s a hugely diverse area, but we provided one simple solution to connect 1,200 sites – more than 600 schools, 51 fire stations and 18 partner organisations like health trusts and charities.

Cost-effective replacement

The Hampshire Public Services Network (HPSN2) is still growing. It offers children access to a fully inclusive curriculum over a safe and secure network. The health trusts have an excellent and cost-effective replacement for their N3 services. Meanwhile Hampshire Fire and Rescue enjoys a resilient flexible infrastructure to build new services – including mobile apps – to meet its changing needs.

With high-speed connection on a fibre-optic network using IPVPN technology for communications including WAN, LAN, fixed and mobile telephony, internet and video conferencing, HPSN2 is even saving Hampshire County Council £1m a year.

Head of Service Management, Jane Stedman, says: “All that money is being ploughed into front line services for all residents of the area. Working in partnership with Virgin Media Business, we will continue to meet future challenges for improving services, while maximising efficiencies and savings.”

We’re immensely proud of partnering HIOW to provide the most digitally progressive public services in the UK – and as it grows we’re looking forward to what lies ahead.

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