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Cheshire Fire plans for PSN and improves network connectivity with Updata

13 November, 2012

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has gone live with a new, resilient voice and data network across all its fire stations and offices throughout the county.

The Wide Area Network (WAN) infrastructure, provided by public sector network specialists Updata, supports the Fire Service’s plans to be at the heart of Cheshire’s transition to a Public Services Network (PSN) and improving collaboration with its public sector partners.  It will also help the Fire and Rescue Service to increase its staff efficiencies, with the improvement of file transfer times predicted at 60 times faster than on its old network.

The new network is built to PSN accredited standards, meaning that CFRS can connect with other public sector stakeholders in the county and beyond – to take advantage of services offered through the Government’s Cloud Store programme.

Tim Bevington, Head of Planning, Performance and Communications at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, comments: “We place great emphasis on collaboration with our public sector partners and want to ensure that our network can support this going forward.  Updata’s track record in building ‘PSN ready’ networks, together with its network solution both in terms of cost and flexibility, contributed to its proposition being the best fit for our requirements.” 

Previously, the Fire and Rescue Service suffered regular network outages and poor resilience.  At times, this could cause a breakdown in communication links between Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters and its 31 fire stations, community safety centres and fire protection offices.  Although this did not affect the emergency response units, it caused significant delays and resulted in staff resorting to manual processes. The Updata solution will further support Cheshire Fire and Rescue service’s plans to move ahead with its organisation-wide IT roadmap requiring a more resilient network to operate efficiently.

The new cloud-based Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network, provided by Updata, will ensure a highly resilient infrastructure with significantly faster network speeds, up to 10 times faster than before.  Updata also provide a 24 hour support and monitoring service to ensure that network links between head office and the fire stations and other sites are always maintained.

Graham Foster, Head of ICT as the Service added: “The new Updata network solution is a significant milestone for our organisation, as it not only gives us peace of mind that we now have a reliable and resilient network infrastructure, but it also enables us to  add  bandwidth  as required for future  IT projects.”

Richard Bennett, managing director of Updata Infrastructure Ltd comments, “We are delighted to provide Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service with a more resilient network which will support the organisation in its future endeavours.  Updata is committed to ensuring that public sector organisations across the board are offered the most cost effective and suitable solution that supports their drive towards PSN-ready networks.”

In September 2012, Updata became one of the first communication providers in the UK to be formally certified as a Direct Network Service Provider (DNSP) by the Cabinet Office.

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