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23 March 2005

Mott MacDonald helps The British Council procure a global communications network

Mott MacDonald and The British Council have completed negotiations with Global Crossing, the network provider appointed to deliver a modern, high-capacity communications network for all British Council offices and teaching centres world-wide. Mott MacDonald has been assisting the Council with procurement of the £50 million system that will link all Council offices, including those in countries where local communication services have been historically unreliable.

With this contract, Mott MacDonald has helped mitigate many of the risks which can sometimes be encountered in large-scale IT projects. “The contract which Mott MacDonald has helped us to construct reduces our exposure to risk. The agreement that we now have with Global Crossing will give us a network with the performance, flexibility and reliability we need to support our operations” said the British Council project manager, Ronnie Parks.

The new network will link 265 offices in 110 countries, providing students and staff with high-speed access to the Internet and to the Council’s headquarters in London and Manchester. Offices will now be able to work more closely together within geographical regions. The British Council was looking for more than an ‘off-the-shelf’ network supplying bandwidth as a commodity. In order to guarantee information systems that would function in its smallest, most far flung office, now and in the future, a service level agreement based on end-user experience was developed. This means that the technology used to link offices does not need to be prescribed by the Council and that the network service can be more easily adapted to meet future Council requirements. The system architecture which the network provider has chosen uses Multi-Protocol Label Switching to provide end-to-end quality of service. Information travelling between British Council offices will traverse fibre-optic seabed cables and geostationary satellites to support Council staff in remote offices.

Mott MacDonald has managed the procurement process from the start of the project in 2003, including capturing the user requirements, developing the specification, drafting the service level agreement, conducting negotiations with multiple bidders, bid evaluation and selection.

The new system will commence rollout in May this year and will be fully operational in mid-2007.


About The British Council

The British Council is the United Kingdom's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. It was founded in 1934 and granted a Royal Charter by Parliament in 1940. Its purpose is to build mutually beneficial relationships between people in the UK and other countries, and to increase learning opportunities, appreciation of the UK's creative ideas and achievements. It operates independently from the UK Government. With 7,000 staff working in 110 countries worldwide, the British Council operates in three broad areas:

•Learning - the British Council increases international recognition of the range and quality of available from the UK; promotes the learning of English; and strengthens educational co-operation between the UK and other countries

•Creativity - the British Council builds appreciation of the UK's artistic creativity and scientific innovation among people overseas and strengthens their engagement with the diversity of UK culture

•Society - the British Council aims to enhance awareness of the UK's democratic values and processes, and works in partnership with other countries to strengthen good governance and human rights.

About Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald is a world-class international company delivering solutions touching many facets of everyday life – from transport, energy, building, water and the environment to industry, communications, social development, health and education. We’re wholly independent, with a turnover of £470 million, 8300 staff and work in over 100 countries.
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