BT press release | 9 September 2004
Borough of Lewisham teams with BT to create best practice Wi-Fi access template
Steve Bullock, directly elected Mayor of Lewisham and Chair of London Connects, today announced that the Council is breaking new ground by working in partnership with BT Openzone, the public wireless broadband service from BT, to develop best practice in setting up Wi-Fi coverage in cities.
Lewisham Council's initiative is one of a number of work streams defined in the National Project for Mobile Working (known as NOMAD), which is sponsored by the Office of The Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).
The NOMAD project explores, evaluates and documents best practice in delivering real-time wireless access for local authorities.
The new Lewisham model is a template that can be used by any UK local authority working with the private sector to roll out urban Wi-Fi. Already the council and BT's good progress on the project is attracting considerable interest from many other local authorities,
Wi-Fi is a key component of Lewisham Council's innovative e-government programme that will allow local people to interact in new ways with the Council's on-line services from a wide range of locations across the borough.
Lewisham citizens who are currently not able to access the internet will be able to try it through user-friendly Wi-Fi technology in their own communities. This will encourage them to participate in the 'information society'.
The Council chose BT Openzone because of its willingness to develop a solution that met Lewisham's specific needs and, at the same time, provided access to BT's large national network of access points.
The first phase of the Lewisham project has seen the installation of BT Openzone wireless broadband in a number of Council owned locations, including the town hall. Some of these have been funded by the Council, some by BT. The BT Openzone access points will allow council employees and members of the public to use their laptop computers when out of their offices, or away from base, to access their organisations' email, intranet systems and the internet.
The Council plans to evaluate the benefits to local people, council staff and local businesses - indeed the community at large. Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: "We are looking at a range of mobile computing technologies to help us reduce cost and improve the delivery of services across Lewisham.
"Developing a public wireless broadband access network across key areas will not only support our front-line workforce but will also encourage new technology based businesses into the area. Indeed, we hope many local people will become new users".
In Lewisham, the wireless network will allow council employees to access the council's IT networks from the new locations being put in place in the borough - in addition to the existing 4000 plus BT Openzone hotspots across the UK
Local people will also be able log on to the internet via BT Openzone and access their offices or council services. Some Council staff, in particular field workers, will be provided laptops or PDAs so that they can make maximum use of the new service.
Chris Clark, chief executive, BT Wireless Broadband said: "Our aim is to make wireless broadband as accessible as possible for our customers and partners, making mobile working and eGovernment a reality for all.
"This project is a truly collaborative approach between BT and Lewisham Council, and we look forward to using and continuing to develop the best practice template so that Local Authorities elsewhere in the UK can roll out BT Openzone wireless broadband access for the benefit of their employees and citizens".
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Notes to editors
BT Group plc is the holding company for an integrated group of communications businesses and is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group.
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications solutions serving customers in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. Its principal activities include network centric Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services..
BT consists principally of three lines of business:
BT Retail, providing fixed and mobile communications services and solutions to over 20 million business and residential customers in the UK. It is also a leading UK internet services provider.
BT Wholesale, providing network services and solutions within the UK to more than 600 fixed and mobile operators and service providers including the provision of broadband, private circuits and PSTN.
BT Global Services, providing ICT services internationally to meet the needs of multi-site organisations with European operations. BT Global Services operates in 136 countries and also offers international carrier services.
In the year ended 31 March 2004, BT Group's turnover was £18,519 million with profit before goodwill amortisation, exceptional items and taxation of £2,013 million.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com
London Borough of Lewisham
Lewisham Council provides services for 248,000 local people in 107,000 households - and is working to make Lewisham the best place in London to live, to work and to learn.
The Council has won approval from independent inspectors, who rate its services as 'good'. A radical new programme, called 'From Good to Great', has been set up to achieve more service improvements for local people.
The London Borough Of Lewisham covers 13.4 square miles south of the River Thames. A total of almost 110,000 local people are in employment. More than half travel outside the borough to work - with 60,000 using its rail and bus public transport links. These include the Docklands Light Railway line from the City of London which was extended to Lewisham in 1999. Lewisham Council provides almost 1,000 acres of green and open public space in 44 well-maintained parks - and was a London in Bloom winner last year (2003).
For more information, visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/
*Steve Bullock is the directly elected Mayor of Lewisham. London Connects is a London-wide agency bringing together local, regional, and central government to support the delivery of the e-government agenda across the capital.