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BT scoops £100m network provision deal from the BBC

State broadcaster opts for former state monopoly

Updated The BBC has picked BT to provide its internal network, in a £100m deal that will run for the next seven years.

The broadcaster estimated the deal will save it tens of millions of pounds and will provide extra network capacity for major events.

The deal will begin in April 2017, with the option of extending the contract for a further three years.

Matthew Postgate, chief technology officer at the BBC, said: "This is an important step towards building an internet-fit BBC and will allow us to provide more interactive and personalised content in the future. At a time when the BBC faces serious financial challenges, it will also save us tens of millions of pounds so we can focus more of our money on the programmes and services for licence fee payers.”

The new network will link all UK BBC sites, including 21 broadcasting centres and local radio stations, along with its overseas bureaux and partners. It will carry all video, audio and data traffic, as well as fixed line telephony, ISDN and broadband services.

Mark Wilson-Dunn, global veep of BT Media and Broadcast, said: "Both of our organisations have a vital part to play in making the best use of advanced technology to support and enable the ever-accelerating evolution of broadcast media.”

The current broadcast network is provided by Vodafone UK through the BBC’s principal technology services provider, Atos. In future, Vodafone will continue to have an important strategic relationship with the BBC, providing a key data centre, telephony services and additional connectivity in London.

With any luck this mega deal will have more success than the Beeb's £100m Digital Media Initiative project, intended to build a massive tapeless archiving system. Some ten years after the project was started it was canned, and the corporation's technology chief, John Linwood, was dismissed. ®

Updated to add

We'd like to point out that Linwood subsequently won [PDF] an employment tribunal against the BBC, which also settled a High Court claim that he had against them, as he was not responsible for the failure of the DMI project.

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