Pennine MD Returns to College to Collect Major Unified Comms Contract

Returning to Bolton Community College has earned Pennine Telecom’s managing director Andrew Roberts rewards that are far from academic! For the fast growing vocational and further education institution which was instrumental in developing Mr Roberts’ career has awarded Pennine a contract to install telecom, network and wireless infrastructures at its new £67m state-of-the art Deane Road campus.

Pennine, working in partnership with an OGC Catalyst partner, won a competitive tender against more than 10 other national suppliers keen to secure the prestigious contract which is worth over £1 million. It will see the Bury-based telecoms and data specialist installing a highly resilient and eco-friendly Extreme network infrastructure across the new campus. This will host an Avaya ACM unified communications telephone system which will enable teaching and administrative staff to access 600 “soft phones” providing both voice and video communications. Pennine will also supply 75 wireless telephone handsets which will run across a Meru wireless network. This wireless network will be campus-wide and will provide wi-fi access for staff, students and visitors.

The agreement saw Roberts returning to the college where he first studied for a City & Guilds certificate in Radio and Television servicing in 1976 – and which secured him his first job at Pennine. “It’s gone full circle. Bolton Community College actually arranged my first interview at Pennine which got me a job repairing radios on the bench, and ultimately resulted in me leading an MBO to buy the company some 27 years later. I will always be grateful for the education and support I received then, and the trust and confidence which the College has placed in Pennine through a contract which will provide them with cutting edge communication technologies.”

Bolton Community College’s IT Operations Manager Railton Knott said “The Pennine team gave us a lot of confidence which is vital for a project of this scale. They have the expertise and skills to project manage and install our entire requirements, this simplifies it for us here at the college as we only have one supplier to liaise with.”

He added implementation of the new high-tec system was crucial in supporting the college’s wider ethos. “We are going to be a world class college and we’re keen to ensure we have the technologies to match that status. By providing staff with flexible communication tools such as softphones, unified messaging and video-conferencing they will be more accessible to their colleagues and students, they can stay in touch wherever they are, whether that’s on campus, in a remote office or at home.”

The IT and telecoms infrastructure will be installed in time for the opening of the new college campus which is currently being built and will be a centrepiece of Bolton’s £300m Innovation Zone regeneration initiative. The 20,201 sq. meter site will give students at Greater Manchester’s high performing college access to impressive educational amenities. These will include a large sports hall and gym, hair and beauty salon, performing arts studio, restaurant and catering training facilities and a purpose-built construction centre.

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