The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a three-year contract worth £640 million to BT to extend the Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) agreement to 2015.
Under the terms of the contract extension, BT will immediately begin a major upgrade to the DFTS network, as well as implement other projects. BT said that the upgrade will increase the bandwidth and reduce latency in the network to improve the performance of applications and security.
The MoD is funding the contract extension from a £810 million fund it has earmarked for fixed telecommunications service and other purposes.
The original DFTS agreement was signed in July 1997, with the aim of consolidating 19 separate telecommunication networks serving the Royal Navy, the British Army, The Royal Air Force and the MOD, into a single multi-service platform.
According to Jeff Kelly, CEO of BT Global Services, the contract extension will offer “financial savings” as well as “operational efficiencies”. BT claims that the consolidation of the network under the existing contract has already saved the MoD “in the region of £700 million”.
The DFTS connects more than 230,000 users across more than 2,000 sites in the UK, Germany and Cypress.
In July, it emerged that a £7.1 billion MoD project, the Defence Information Infrastructure scheme, which concerns the rollout of a single information and communications platform to the MoD, could be rescoped.