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BT Nets £39m NATO Networking Deal

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

BT’s Global Services division scores a major deal with NATO for communications services

BT has won a €47 million (£39 million) contract to install a fresh communications network at NATO’s Consultation, Command and Control Agency (NC3A).

The telecoms giant will have to hook up 70 different sites spread across 30 nations involved in NATO activities and in the Balkans. The five-year deal will see an Ethernet Connect wide area network (WAN) service installed across NATO bases, whilst the addition of the E-LINE service will give the intergovernmental body “protected bandwidth for mission-critical applications,” BT said.

A ‘future-proof network’

“Information – and the ability to share it rapidly across a coalition – plays a paramount role in 21st century operations, as well as political decision-making,” said Georges D’hollander, general manager at NC3A.

“To underpin this we need a flexible, future-proof network. BT has, over the years, developed an in-depth understanding of the specific challenges we face. Their BT Connect portfolio is particularly well designed to support our communications needs.”

More specifically, NATO will be moving away from its NGCS (NATO general-purpose segment communications system), which is based on time-division multiplexing, an old alternative to packet mode communication that lets organisations transmit multiple communications across the same transmission medium.

TechWeekEurope understands Orange Business Services and Telecom Italia competed with BT for the contract. BT expects the network migration will be completed by the end of this year.

The deal marks another win for Global Services, which was once seen as something of a money-drainer at BT. In 2008, BT said it would cut 10,000 jobs due to Global Services’ weak performance. The following year, the division was reporting losses of £124 million.

Yet late last year, profits were up 15 per cent and the division was scoring some major deals. In December, BT scored a €120 million (£100m) deal with the European Parliament to provide the backbone of telecoms services, including VoIP and videoconferencing.

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