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A group of local authorities in Norfolk have joined forces to deploy a more efficient and cash-saving shared public sector network.

A group of local authorities in Norfolk have joined forces to deploy a more efficient and cash-saving shared public sector network.

Broadland District Council, Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, South Norfolk Council and North Norfolk District Council are now connected by a private MPLS-based network, which is enabling them to share critical council services.

The results are said to be more cost-effective services for the residents of all four local authorities, greater flexibility and collaboration, and "significant cost-savings". However, the councils wouldn't put a figure on these savings annually.

For the new wide area network the councils went to Claranet.

"The legacy connections between the authorities were suitable only for very basic communications,” said John Wickens, IT technical architect and compliance officer at South Norfolk Council.

“Bandwidth, speed and security limited what we could achieve on the old infrastructure and, although each council had its own external network, there was no easy way to link these into a single, cohesive private network, where everyone could access email, share information and work collaboratively," he said.

The new service comprises a virtual private network (VPN) which runs exclusively across Claranet’s core MPLS network and which does not touch the public internet.

Claranet takes full responsibility for managing the network, ensuring high availability and performance, while also managing the process of allocating network resources to each party depending on their current needs.

The network supports speeds of up to 100Mbps.