Welsh councils establish £14m shared WAN

Authorities include Newport and Gwent

Eight public sector organisations in south-east Wales have connected to a shared service wide area network provided by the Welsh Assembly, as part of a five-year £14m deal.

The PSBA (Public Sector Broadband Aggregation) network is funded by user organisations and delivered as a managed service by Logicalis, as part of a seven year contract with the Welsh Assembly Government.

Aneurin Bevan Health Board, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Caerphilly County Borough Council, Coleg Gwent, Gwent Police Authority, Monmouthshire County Council, Newport City Council and Torfaen County Borough Council have worked together to jointly design and develop their part of the PSBA, known as the Gwent Network Neighbourhood Design (GNND).

The PSBA provides GNND members with a range of connectivity options and is capable of delivering voice, video and data services. The eight organisations involved have all chipped in to sign the £14m deal to use the PSBA.

Steve Harding, chairman of GNND, and assistant director of informatics at the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, said: "There are other projects being developed in other locations but none that match the scale or ambitions of the GNND. Ultimately the network will provide the catalyst for significant change across current processes and organisations."

Harding said the PSBA offers a national information and communications platform that meets the specific needs of the Welsh public sector, "creating opportunities for collaborative working and information sharing that previously weren't available on this scale".

Public sector employees at more than 2,000 public service sites across Wales are already connected to the PSBA, and the figure is expected to rise to over 10,000 over the next few years as more organisations join, said Logicalis.

The Welsh Assembly set up the PSBA in 2007, after being given the green light by the European Commission. The Commission said the network would not break competition rules on state aid.

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