North West Ambulance Service Trust ditches BT N3 for Virgin Media Business network

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) Trust has ditched its old N3 BT network, choosing Virgin Media Business fibre network to connect its services.


North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) Trust has ditched its old N3 BT network, choosing Virgin Media Business' fibre network to connect its services.

NWAS serves over seven million people in the North West of England, with its 139 ambulance stations, three ‘999’ call centres and two data centres accessed by hospitals operating within the region.  

NWAS was formed in 2006 from a number of NHS Trusts including Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire. Under its previous N3 broadband contract NWAS continued to operate using separate network infrastructure, making the sharing of information complicated and slow, NWAS claims.

In order to increase speeds, NWAS set up a wide area network (WAN) using Virgin Media Business's PSN compliant fibre network to connect sites, reducing data transfer times to just a few milliseconds.

The new network will also enable wireless connectivity across all NWAS sites, providing benefits such as supporting the use of mobile devices, meaning that staff are no longer tied to their desks for administrative duties.

Joe Richardson, Data Centre Manager, North West Ambulance said that the network will allow easier collaboration with other NHS organisations, and improve patient care.

“With the new improved connection from Virgin Media Business we’re now able to collaborate and transfer our data between sites and data centres faster than ever before, in just two milliseconds,” Richardson said. “This is helping us make a difference to the service patients receive.”

Andrew Fisk, director of public sector & network services, Virgin Media Business, added: “Technology is underpinning a revolution in communication for blue light services across the UK. Every second counts when a patient’s life is at risk, and by having reliable, high speed networks in place ambulances services, like NWAS can provide the best quality care to the patients in their area.”

The contract win for Virgin Media Business is another example of an NHS organisation moving away from the N3 network, with Oxleas NHS Trust also switching to Virgin Media Business in 2012.

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