Capita plc (Capita) has secured a £7.5m four-year contract extension to continue providing network and IT services to Norfolk County Council.
The extension includes a managed ‘wide area network’ that links different public sector sites together and technology systems that manage high volumes of incoming calls, office and mobile phones, as well as, secure internet services to 200 schools in Norfolk.
Capita has also secured a £6m contract from Norfolk County Council, under the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport department’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) programme, to upgrade the county’s current hybrid network to LFFN, currently the fastest and most reliable broadband technology. This will be rolled out across 230 schools and 108 public sector buildings, including council offices, libraries, and fire and rescue sites.
The LFFN infrastructure will provide public sector departments access to a range of ‘ultra-fast’ bandwidth connectivity, enabling them to offer faster and more efficient services to identify and address community requirements, such as adult social services, independent living and health provision.
The extension to continue delivering IT services and the new LFFN infrastructure support the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme which aims to deliver 95 per cent coverage of ultra/super-fast connectivity across the county by April 2020.
Additionally, Capita has supplied Norfolk County Council with more than 120 Long-Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) ‘gateways’. The gateways form a connection between battery-operated sensors and devices to the Internet of Things (IoT). Norfolk currently uses LoRaWAN-linked sensors to monitor road temperatures to help manage road gritting and monitor road safety issues.
Norfolk also uses LoRaWAN to monitor desk utilisation in county hall and will be deploying sensors on the Norfolk Broads to provide boat users with information on which bridges their boats can pass under and direct them to empty moorings to dock.
The new gateways will provide more opportunities for IoT applications such as using sensors to monitor moisture in the air and advise farmers when to spray crops.
Mark Cook, executive officer of Capita’s Technology Solutions division, said: “This extension is secured on the strength of a longstanding relationship with Norfolk. Our innovative technologies will deliver better outcomes for these communities and local businesses. It places Capita at the heart of Norfolk’s long-term strategy to become the best-connected rural county in the UK.”
Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, cabinet member for Innovation, Transformation and Performance at Norfolk County Council, said: “We are constantly working with our council departments and local businesses to understand how services can be delivered in a more efficient way. The full-fibre network and IoT rollout will enhance and improve how our communities access our services. It will also place us in a very good position to extend digital services in the future.”
Kurt Frary, deputy head of Information Management & Technology at Norfolk County Council, said: “Norfolk County Council is leading the way in delivering the largest free-to-use public sector LoRaWAN network in the UK, kickstarting innovation in public services, and enabling businesses and the public to use prototypes, and experiment with IoT technology.”