The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Newcastle hospitals install fibre optic network to benefit 
from predictable costsH2O Networks provides the communication solution for the largest healthcare modernisation programme in the North East.

Data communication is now a critical component in the smooth running of our hospitals and healthcare system. Patient records, clinical data and appointment systems require a high speed, resilient network to transfer information between departments and often between hospital sites. Newcastle’s £304 million project to transform the healthcare provision in the region is due for completion in 2012. It is the biggest healthcare modernisation programme in the North East and one of the largest in the country.

Challenge
Construction is underway to transfer all the services currently provided at Newcastle General Hospital to new, state-of-the-art facilities at two other hospitals, The Freeman Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary.The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has taken this opportunity to install a new network between the two hospitals. After researching the market the Trust brought on board H2O Networks to deliver a communications infrastructure which offers world class performance, at a cost that is lower than the existing network provider, with built-in future proofing.

Bob Beckwith, Data and Telecommunications Network Manager explains: “We have used a fibre optic network for a number of years but our old system was leased and the cost was linked to the speed of the traffic over the network. So, just like with home broadband, you pay more to utilise the faster speeds. The cost had become too high for the speed that we need now, let alone in the future. With the H2O fibre optic network, we will have control. It will be up to us to determine the speed we want by simply upgrading our network kit.  And, by signing up to a 15 year contract we can predict what our future costs will be.”

Solution
The Freeman Hospital and Royal Victoria Infirmary will be linked by a Darc (Derestricted Access Route Connections) fibre network to enable IT and telecoms networks with virtually unlimited bandwidth. H2O Networks utilises innovative fibre deployment methods which minimise both cost and disruption to the local environment.

Linking the two hospital sites are two 4km runs of cable. The installation required negotiations with a number of other organizations, including the local council which gave permission for the cable to be laid through a local park.

Results
The network comprises two cables, each containing six pairs of fibres- one in each direction - to link the two hospitals. Each of the cables has been laid independently along a different route to guard against accidental damage in order to ensure resilience of the system. This will support 24 hour usage of the network which links all departments, housing between them around 12,000 staff working from 8,000 desktop computers.

Beckwith sums up: “Our hospitals are reliant on our e-records system to cope with more than a million patients every year.  We know fibre optic is resilient and can deliver the performance and speed we need. In H2O Networks we have found a partner who understands our requirements and can create a bespoke communications infrastructure with the bandwidth and speed flexibility to enable us to scale up if and when we want to without increasing our future costs.”

Challenge
To implement a fast, resilient and cost-effective communications network to support the e-records system and future communication needs across Newcastle’s two major hospital sites.

Solution
Install a Darc fibre network by using H2O Networks’ innovative methods to lay fibre optic cable while causing minimum disruption to the hospital and local area.

Results
Robust and secure link between the two hospitals. Hugely scalable bandwidth at a fixed cost to cope with the evolution of technology and the increased capacity requirements of the future.

Pull out quote
“Our hospitals are reliant on our e-records system. We know fibre optic is resilient and can deliver the performance and speed we need. In H2O Networks we have found a partner who understands our requirements and can create a bespoke communications infrastructure.”

Bob Beckwith, Data and Telecommunications Network Manager, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

About H2O Networks
H2O Networks, part of the i3 Group, provides business networks using Darc (Derestricted Access Route Connections). It delivers fibre optic point-to-point connections and Fibrezones. A Fibrezone is a dark fibre optic cable ring deployed around a business sector, campus, town or city to which organisations such as local authorities, hospitals, schools and local businesses can connect.

Formed in 2002, i3 Group is a pioneer of deploying dark fibre in the UK’s waste water network and other ready made ducts to enable connectivity. Known as its patented FS System, this method is a fast and cost-effective way to lay fibre optic cable and link up any location without the high costs and disruption caused by road digging.

i3 Group is comprised of: Fibrecity Holdings, H2O Networks, H2O International, H2O Services, Innovation and World Wide Distribution Centre and Fibre Associates (Fibre@).

For more information
For further information please visit: www.h2o-networks.uk.net