Barriers still to overcome to realise benefits of network sharing

A new survey by MLL Telecom among SOCITM members has revealed that while the majority of the respondents said they were under pressure to reduce network costs, 85% of them also said that their network providers had not proposed any cost savings that could be made by network sharing.

The case for network sharing is a compelling one, with many potential benefits. These include significant cost savings; MLL Telecom has found that a 25% reduction in network costs is not unusual.

Perhaps even more importantly, a shared network is an essential platform on which to deliver other shared services and integration of processes and data across public sector organisations. This is demonstrated by initiatives such as the Government Secure Extranet (GCSX). For these reasons the majority of respondents (75%) confirmed that they had plans to implement network sharing initiatives within the next three years.

However the members surveyed cited a number of barriers that need to be overcome to enable network sharing to become a reality. The biggest barrier was found to be security, with 77% of respondents citing security concerns as the major barrier to network sharing. Other issues raised included traffic assurance, guaranteeing a fair share of the network, procedural and policy issues.

“What’s needed is a secure way for local government organisations to share network services without compromising network performance or security”, said Eddie Minshull, CEO of MLL Telecom.

“The best way to achieve this is to build a dedicated network for each community. This has advantages over a general-purpose VPN (virtual private network) in that it provides a customised community network, which gives the users greater control. Performance levels can be guaranteed for critical traffic, such as the police and emergency services, and security for restricted traffic can be assured.”