BT will help the British Army build smart bases

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BT has secured a networks contract with the British Army to pave the way for smart bases across the United Kingdom.

The company’s Business unit has been awarded a five-year contract to provide a managed Wi-Fi service known as MOD Wi-Fi.

This agreement entails BT delivering managed secure Wi-Fi across 162 new army sites in the UK, with the potential to expand the contract to other defence customers, including the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.

Building upon its existing partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), BT’s Defence team currently manages 200 MoD sites in the UK, Cyprus, and Germany, fulfilling the Wi-Fi network requirements for over a decade.

The new contract represents a significant digital infrastructure boost, offering a managed firewall for enhanced security. Soldiers stationed in remote base locations will now benefit from improved connectivity, enabling them to stay connected with their loved ones and access digital platforms during their downtime via free, fast, and reliable internet services.

The scope of the delivery program encompasses all buildings within the equipped sites, including offices, hangars, training facilities, technical accommodation, and workshops. Additionally, the service will cover recreation spaces, messes, sports facilities, and dining areas. 

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 frontline 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.”

The connectivity provided by BT will serve as the foundation for the deployment of smart bases over the next 12 months. These smart bases will enhance the digital experience for military personnel, bolster security with intelligent surveillance and building entry systems, and support the military’s net-zero ambitions by optimising building occupancy for more efficient energy consumption.

Major General John Collyer, Director of Information and CIO of the British Army, commented:

“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 closely with the Army to establish a smart base in Larkhill, South West England. This innovative base incorporates a digital infrastructure that encompasses fibre broadband and private 5G. The technology deployed includes high-definition cameras, sensors, facial recognition systems, smart building entry and management solutions, digital signage for tailored messages, and secure printing.

With this new networks contract, BT is set to play a crucial role in transforming the British Army’s digital capabilities, ensuring reliable and secure connectivity for personnel across various military sites.

The implementation of smart bases will further enhance operational efficiency, security, and sustainability, positioning the British Army at the forefront of technological advancements in the defence sector.

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