Telco group BT has signed a five year, £32 million deal with Sellafield Ltd, which runs the UK’s largest nuclear site to upgrade and run the company’s entire network services.

The £32 million network services contract covers upgrades and updates to current equipment and maintenance of wide and local area network services, core and gateway services, audio and conferencing, telephony and cyber security. The upgrades are intended to allow Sellafield to Sellafield to be in a position to use IoT and 5G applications in the future.

Sellafield is bringing in a number of firms for ICT upgrades and management, which is designed to provide new tools, technologies and capabilities to the nuclear plant. As part of the five-year contract, BT will also provide £2 million of funding for ‘local social value initiatives in the West Cumbria area’.

“We are really pleased to have secured this major contract with Sellafield Ltd and look forward to working in partnership with them to create a network that is secure, fast, reliable and future-proofed, with the added capability to overlay new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G and IoT in the future,” said Ashish Gupta, MD Corporate and Public Sector for BT’s Enterprise unit.

“In a major boost for the local area, not only will we deliver digital transformation for Sellafield as part of the contract, but we’ll also provide a significant boost to the local community too. Over the life of the partnership, we will be investing £2 million into West Cumbria to help tackle the causes of inequality among the area’s most vulnerable people.”

Tracey West, Social Impact Manager at Sellafield said: “It is really positive to see such a significant commitment from BT as part of this contract to support the delivery of our Social Impact Multiplied programme. I am looking forward to working with BT to maximise the local impact from their financial contribution.”

The firms are clearly keen to put a local charity spin on the story, perhaps conscious of the stigma that still surrounds nuclear power in this country. In terms of the scale of the job, Sellafield employs around 11,000 people at the West Cumbrian nuclear site and a number of off-site offices in Cumbria and Warrington. The new network will incorporate Wi-Fi, a unified communications programme to consolidate conferencing solutions such as Teams and Skype, and in-built security for sensitive data.

The UK is a net importer of energy, and as the cost of living and crisis and fuel issues related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine seem bound to have an enduring impact into winter, compounded with continued warnings from US and UK agencies of rising cyber attacks, we may see heightened emphasis on ICT and security for key infrastructures such as Sellafield in the coming months.

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