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BT in £50m contract with NI government

Extends tentacles further into the Republic

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BT has won a 12 year contract to provide ICT services to Northern Ireland's civil service.

Under the terms of the £50m deal, the telecommunications company has been appointed by the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) to update and integrate accounting and financial services technologies across all government departments.

BT will be working alongside Accenture and Northgate Information Solutions, according to BT major business managing director Alastair Hamilton.

"We were able to demonstrate that through our own capability and that of our strategic partners, our proposition provided the most innovative technical solution, as well as the most attractive commercial option," he said.

Previously, the individual departments had independent financial management systems in place, but these have now been standardised and centralised in a shared services centre.

Hamilton told ENN that the Accounting Services Programme with NICS was the largest IT services contract BT had won in Northern Ireland to date, and is the latest in a series of projects undertaken by BT for public bodies in the north. The company already has a £30m contract with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. BT also has a relationship with the Land Registry and has a contract for the UK's Department of Enterprise Trade and Industry's broadband needs in Northern Ireland.

BT's largest equivalent IT services contract in the Republic is to provide services to Bank of Ireland as a subcontractor of HP.

Northern Ireland has been in the technology headlines quite a bit recently. In January it became the first region in Europe to provide broadband access to all its residents and businesses. There are about 180,000 broadband subscribers in the six counties, with 27 percent of households signed up for broadband and 38 percent of businesses signed up for high-speed internet access.

The region's broadband success has been attributed to the support received from the government, which backed the scheme early on. After investing some £10m in broadband infrastructure, the government awarded a contract to BT in March 2003 to make broadband available to 100 percent of the population.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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