Norfolk plans city-wide wireless network

Following a review by Adit, the specialist agency established by the DTI to support the Public Sector in ICT and broadband infrastructure procurement, plans for a £3.4m Dark Fibre Ring superhighway around Norwich have been replaced by a pilot project that looks at the very latest Wi-Fi wireless technology.

Sep 7, 2006
By David Howell
Conservative MP Sir David Amess

Following a review by Adit, the specialist agency established by the DTI to support the Public Sector in ICT and broadband infrastructure procurement, plans for a £3.4m Dark Fibre Ring superhighway around Norwich have been replaced by a pilot project that looks at the very latest Wi-Fi wireless technology.

This £1.1m project has been spearheaded by Norfolk County Council in partnership with the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and other local public sector partners as part of a programme to evaluate the impact of mobile technology in the region.

The project will be used to show how all public sector organisations – health, education, social services, police, fire service and public transport – can both benefit from and improve their effectiveness by using wireless based technology in developing a series of practical projects. Public sector users will connect to the network at 1mbps. It is envisaged that Norfolk Open Link will encourage greater collaboration within the public sector, more use of home and mobile working and will provide the opportunity for local authority, police and fire service staff to access information when away from their office.

“Norfolk Open Link will investigate the potential uses and applications of a city wide 2.4 GHz wireless network,” said Adit’s Communications Director, Susan McDonnel.

“It is funded by EEDA under the aegis of improving the economic development of the area and will run until July 2008.”

Norfolk County Council’s Kurt Frary also commented: “We are very excited about the possibilities that the Norfolk Open Link project presents for the county. The pilot project will aim to harness the potential wireless technology can have in enhancing the delivery of our public services and stimulating business and private use of wireless technologies.”

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