step further forward with the announcement today that BT has joined the partnership.
BT will become the network infrastructure provider for the project, which aims to enable the council to operate more efficiently and improve the delivery of council services across the city. Productivity savings of 10-12%, or 'millions of pounds' are expected each year, a spokeswoman said.
BT's partnership with Westminster Council is the first of its kind in the UK
and supports Project Nomad (the National Project for mobile working), a
government initiative to encourage local authorities to provide more
flexible working and reduce costs.
The Wireless City project was launched in April 2004 as part of
Westminster's ambition to be world leaders in city management. It will be
BT's responsibility to install the Wi-Fi network and a Microconnect
Distributed Antenna network across Westminster. The network will
support a variety of applications to benefit residents, business and
- Flexible and responsive CCTV coverage over a wider area delivering a safer
street environment by reducing the incidence and fear of crime
- Remote noise and street environment monitoring via the wireless network,
improving the 'end to end' delivery of council services such as parking,
licensing and environmental health inspections
- Remote working for council staff - everyone from city guardians to
environmental health officers and social workers will be able to access real
time and historic documents from the corporate network as well as file
reports from their personal digital assistants wherever they are in
- BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots where people can surf the web or send large
files at high speeds
Microconnect helps to improve mobile phone coverage and capacity, in
particular giving access to 3G services. The discreet, low-power MDA
network can be shared by all mobile operators, so helping to minimise impact
on the Westminster street scene.
The project is the next chapter in the evolution of Westminster City
Council's Customer Service Initiative (CSi)* delivered in partnership with
Vertex and the council's ambition to become world leaders in service
delivery and city management.
Clive Ansell, BT London regional director, said of the partnership: 'The
scale of this exciting project is unprecedented both in terms of its size
and in terms of the area's strategic importance. We are delighted to be part
of this innovative partnership delivering a wireless network that will
provide a secure and resilient communications infrastructure across the
Simon Milton, leader of Westminster City Council said: 'This is the
first deal of its kind in the UK and will establish Westminster City Council
as a world leader for technology and innovation. The wireless city will
benefit those who live and work in Westminster by improving the street
environment through reducing crime and disorder, improvingthe delivery and
effectiveness of council services and enabling us to maintain low tax
through delivering significant cost savings. BT is the ideal partner for us,
combining in-depth communications expertise with a strong experience of
working with other local authorities to provide wireless technology.'
Chris Clark, CEO BT Wireless Broadband added: 'Wireless access is at the
very heart of BT's mobility and convergence vision which is to provide its
customers with access to all their applications and information on their
choice of device, utilising the best network available with a seamless user
BT is already a key supplier of voice communications to Westminster City
Council, and by joining the Wireless City Partnership, BT will bring its
communications' expertise to the design, build and operation of wireless
infrastructure services across the city.
BT has also been working with several local authorities to explore, evaluate
and document best practice in delivering wireless broadband access for local
authorities and has installed wireless technology in Cardiff and the London
borough of Lewisham. The Westminster partnership is the most ambitious
because it will use wireless technology to transform a wide range of
applications within a local authority, becoming a showcase for how a local
authority can deliver the government's Gershon efficiency targets.
*Westminster City Council's CSi programme is delivered by Vertex, an
international strategic service provider, with particular expertise in
The Wireless City Partnership comprises Westminster, BT, Intel, Cisco
Systems, Capgemini, Vertex, BTSkyNet and Telindus. The project's pilot will
now extend from its technical pilot in Soho to include wider parts of the
West End and the Churchill Gardens and Lisson Grove housing estates.