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BBC waves £230m of feepayers' dosh at tech backbone deal

Troublesome Tower model still part of the plans

BBC Testcard
Connectivity deal: Keeping this in front of millions worldwide

The Beeb is dangling hundreds of millions of license fee payers’ pounds in front of network sellers for upgrading its plumbing and serving up connectivity services for years to come.

The contract notice, published in the Official Journal of the European Union, reveals Auntie is seeking to appoint a “single supplier” for the next seven years with an option to extend it by another three.

“The total estimated contract value over the maximum possible contract term of 120 months is £230m,” the corporation stated in the notice.

The connectivity services in demand will provide the glue which supports “broadcast signal interconnections” and enterprise IT networks, including high capacity core network connectivity between fixed sites.

The resale of standard telco kit and services is also part of the contract, ranging from permanent and temporary private circuits to direct exchange lines, ISN lines, and ADSL services.

Under the BBC’s Tower model — the Aurora Programme — the broadcaster is breaking up “monolithic” tech contracts and replacing them with multiple deals with a number of specialist suppliers.

The winner of the connectivity services gig will be expected to work with some of those other tech suppliers in areas of overlap.

The shift to the Tower model has not been without issues: last year the Beeb tossed £285m at Atos to run its IT until 2017, because implementation of the Tower was taking longer than planned.

The Tower model was also favoured by a growing element in the public sector as the government sought to shake up legacy deals when they expired - although this no longer seems to be the case.

Prospective suppliers have until the 27 April to submit their bid for the connectivity services framework. ®

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