The regional communications network has over 1,000 schools from across the region and over 400 Lincolnshire County Council sites connected and, in terms of geographical coverage, is the largest regional PSN to be procured in England. This new PSN has been developed based on an existing network used by the East Midlands Broadband Consortium.
Mike Kendall, Managing Director of emPSN Ltd, (the organisation charged with procuring the network and managing the suppliers) says: “Some of the first customers to use the network are the schools, who were previously served by the embc network. The contract with Kcom was signed in March and since then there has been considerable work to make sure that the schools were moved to the emPSN by the time the embc contract expired. I’m pleased to say that we met the deadline and there was a smooth network hand over.”
Kcom was selected to supply the core network, oversee the management of the services that run across it and to provide connections and supporting services to individual customer locations. The shared infrastructure allows regional public sector organisations to collaborate, save costs, improve service delivery to residents and bring the public sector closer to their customers using mobility and flexible working. The emPSN contract has been designed to become a local market place for a wide range of the public sector’s communications and service needs.
“We’re hoping that all regional public sector organisations will join emPSN in the near future. We made the decision to procure a PSN because of the benefits that can be achieved through sharing – in terms of both cost savings and service level improvements.” continues Kendall.
“The emPSN will facilitate the ability to share assets, particularly buildings, as well as share applications to enhance our public services. The key here is collaboration.”
Judith Hetherington Smith, Chief Information Officer of Lincolnshire County Council is also keen to see the network develop; “The transition to live operation is important but it is only the start. We’ve now got a great opportunity to encourage other public sector organisations, across the whole region, to transition their services to emPSN. That includes local authorities, health trusts, emergency services and charitable organisations, particularly those that support the delivery of public services.
“The network already has fantastic reach and has delivered significant cost savings in Lincolnshire. In rural areas a regional network has particular importance and it really is a case of the more organisations that come on board, the greater its value will be for all of us. The value will come through cheaper technology costs and, perhaps more importantly, through enabling shared working across public sector partners.”
Afshin Attari, Director of PSN at Kcom, says: “This is the biggest and most complex PSN contract we’ve delivered to date. There has been significant work carried out, both by us and our partners, in a short amount of time and I’m pleased that there has been such a substantial take up from the schools and local authorities involved so far. We will be playing our part to increase the number of organisations so they can benefit from all that emPSN can offer.
This PSN has also seen the introduction of a new Customer Portal, developed by Kcom which makes it easier for end users to manage their accounts. Users will be able to order additional services, create and track incidents and change requests, view invoices and check the performance of their network, all through a single sign on.