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WESTMINSTER GOES WIFI WITH BT

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Westminster City Council's wireless city project moved a...
Westminster City Council's wireless city project moved a

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

visitors including:

- 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

Westminster

- 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

borough.'

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

experience.'

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

customer management.

Note

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.

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