BT has secured a major new networks contract with the Army – paving the way for the rollout of smart bases across the UK.
The company’s Business unit has won the five-year contract with the British Army to deliver a managed Wi-Fi service, referred to as MOD Wi-Fi. The deal will see BT provide managed secure Wi-Fi across 162 new UK army sites, with the future potential to expand the contract to other Defence customers, including the RAF and Royal Navy.
The new contract will expand on the existing 200 Ministry of Defence (MoD) sites that BT’s Defence team currently manage in the UK, Cyprus and Germany, following over a decade of partnering with the MoD for its Wi-Fi network requirements.
It will deliver a huge digital infrastructure boost, with a managed firewall built-in for enhanced security. Soldiers, who may currently struggle to receive connectivity in remote base locations, will now benefit from enhanced contact with loved ones and ability to relax during their down-time through access to digital platforms thanks to free, fast and reliable internet. The delivery programme covers all buildings in the sites being equipped, including offices, hangars, training facilities, technical accommodation and workshops. All recreation spaces, messes, sports and dining facilities will also be covered by the service.
The connectivity will also provide the foundation for smart bases to begin rolling out over the next 12 months, enabling sites to improve the digital experience for military personnel, enhancing security with smart surveillance and intelligent Building Entry Systems, and supporting net zero ambitions by maximising building occupancy for more efficient energy consumption.
Ed Stainton, Director of Major Government at BT, said: “The opportunities and threats posed by digital technology mean the Army needs the most reliable and secure networks possible – and we’re proud to be a trusted partner that can deliver for them. This new managed Wi-Fi service from BT will provide important connectivity across areas of training, business and welfare.
“Crucially, the contract will also lay the foundation for Front-Line Commands to introduce smarter ways of working, unlocking the benefits of new technologies on MOD Wi-Fi that will provide efficiencies, enhance productivity and increase security.”
Major General John Collyer, The British Army Director Information said: “This is another critical delivery under the ambitious British Army Digital Transformation Initiative – Programme THEIA.
“We are thrilled to partner with BT for the Army Estate Wide Internet work – which will deliver ubiquitous internet access across our estate – for business use, research, leisure, gaming, innovation, trials and more. Another leap forward, and I thank the staff of BT and in Army HQ for their Herculean work getting us to this stage. It will make a huge difference for our people and our outputs.”
BT has already been working in partnership with the Army to establish a smart base in Larkhill, South West England, with a digital infrastructure that incorporates fibre broadband and private 5G. The base uses technology such as HD cameras and sensors, facial recognition, smart building entry and management, digital signage to relay tailored messages to different audiences, and secure printing.