Cable&Wireless Secures £207m Deal with National Grid

Cable&Wireless Worldwide has won a 15 year, £207 million deal with National Grid to design, deliver and manage a dedicated Next Generation Operational Telecommunications Network (OpTel NGN) to support National Grid’s Core Network Infrastructure and Operational Systems. The safe transmission of electricity in the UK is dependant on these systems.

The deal consists of two separate contracts; a 15-year, £108m contract to provide and operate the optical fibre network which underpins the entire National Grid core operational functions and a 5-year, £99m dedicated contract for a Managed Service for the overall Operational Telecommunications Network infrastructure.

The new dedicated OpTel NGN design enables mission critical services to be delivered securely via an integrated Multi Service Platform. This approach provides a seamless migration path for future technology and service requirements enabling National Grid to move forward at a rate of change that meets its business needs.

The solution will therefore be a key enabler in the next era of power transmission in the UK. The network platform will set a power utility standard which will solve problems associated with the provision of high performance telecommunication services for demanding high voltage (HV) protection, control and other operational applications in a harsh electrical environment – and will set a template for others to follow.

Cable&Wireless will also deliver the required high performance and critical Operational Telecommunication Services to enable the National Grid to operate the UK HV Electricity Grid safely, efficiently and reliably. This includes the provision and governance of a dedicated Network Management Centre on a National Grid Site, specialist engineering and technical support for all National Grid Operational Sites (mostly High Voltage Substations) and an exclusive Major Incident management and priority fault restoration process.

In addition, an enhanced Service Level Agreement and new network and performance management tools, including an automated Configuration Management Data Base (CMDB) will be provided. Given the criticality of the network performance, provisioning and rapid re-routing of primary network configuration will be introduced to preserve service resilience should a network incident occur.

David Lister, CIO, National Grid, said: “Our Operational Telecommunications Network provides mission critical services, so it’s absolutely vital that we picked the right strategic supplier that could support us in the transmission of electricity in the UK. Cable&Wireless offered us all the assurances we need in terms of customer service, resilience and security for us to continue to provide the highest standards of service to our customers.”

Jim Marsh, Chief Executive Officer, Cable&Wireless Worldwide, said: “This is a fantastic deal for Cable&Wireless as it cements our position as the premier supplier to the Utility industry. Our ability to offer a complete managed NGN service means we now have a strategically important relationship with National Grid to 2026. We look forward to delivering an excellent customer experience to one of the world’s largest energy companies and helping provide their business critical communications services.”