MLL Telecom, a leading provider of secure managed network services across the UK, today announced that is has been awarded a 20-year contract by Suffolk County Council to extend the county’s existing Wide Area Network (WAN) to connect over 600 key public sector sites and provide them with ultra-fast and next generation services. In addition, MLL has partnered with CityFibre to build, operate and own a 114km dark fibre spine network across 10 towns in the county to connect over 300 of those sites to a future-proof network capable of delivering gigabit speeds as standard.
The project was made possible by an award of £5.9 million to Suffolk County Council from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of the third wave of its Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Challenge Fund. It has also provided a contractual framework that can be leveraged by other Local Authorities to procure their own full fibre WANs.
The project will begin in January, with CityFibre commencing planning work across ten towns: Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft, Haverhill, Felixstowe, Woodbridge, Sudbury, Stowmarket, Mildenhall and Newmarket. The full fibre network will position the county as a candidate for significant private investment in full fibre roll-outs to homes and businesses such as that already underway by CityFibre through its strategic partnership with Vodafone.
Rob Hamlin, Commercial Director at CityFibre said “This represents yet another major public sector fibre infrastructure deployment for CityFibre. We have worked closely with MLL to refine a unique proposition in the market that harnesses the potential for the public sector to drive the wider digital transformation agenda.”
A large part of the project will also be heavily focused on delivering social value to the region, developing local digital skills in the area and ensuring these are retained in the region. MLL Telecom will work with the University of Suffolk and Suffolk County Council to provide apprenticeship training programmes and courses with relevant certifications to boost key digital skills in areas of high business value and demand.
“Through this new 114km fibre network, our councils, NHS clinics, fire stations and more will be able to access leading edge connectivity, which will have a real economic and social impact in the region,” said Chris Bally, Deputy Chief Executive at Suffolk County Council. “Better, more reliable internet access for our public services will bring untold benefits – like more investment, more jobs, and more businesses. We couldn’t be happier to get this work underway, and to welcome the next generation of public service delivery.”
Suffolk County Council has been working with MLL Telecom as a partner since 2012, to ensure that the council’s IT and network acts as an enabler for its digital strategy, and results in tangible economic, social, technological benefits. MLL Telecom was selected based on the company’s commitment to creating a digital region through flexible delivery, value for money, and a true partnership approach. MLL Telecom worked alongside Suffolk to design a commercial and technological approach that will match the market needs, as site requirements decrease but bandwidth requirements go up. MLL Telecom’s transformative and innovative approach to the WAN, re-design of the core network, and restructure of the dark fibre network will allow Suffolk to evolve over time. This includes the ability to move to an SD-WAN self-orchestrated network, allowing for customer self-service portals.
“Our focus is on enabling the public sector in Suffolk to work anywhere, anytime, with connectivity that is up to ten times faster than any other region in the UK as standard. We are absolutely thrilled to support Suffolk County Council – which has been an MLL Telecom customer since 2012 – to fulfil its digital ambition,” said Neil Woolerton, Director of Client Management at MLL Telecom. “The future will be made possible by connectivity, and we are proud to provide the infrastructure and network to allow the public sector in Suffolk and surrounding areas to take full advantage.”