The IT managed services provider Redcentric has been chosen to provide the peering exchange for the UK’s new Health and Social Care Network.
NHS Digital is using HSCN to replace the BT-run N3 network (NHS National Network) – the contract for which ends in March 2017 – in a bid to move away from long-term single supplier contracts to create a marketplace of network options for health and social care organisations.
The peering exchange will act as a “super switch” for this shift: allowing multiple community network service providers to supply connectivity to NHS end users and to interconnect their networks at multiple peering exchange points, forming a single logical network.
The HSCN’s programme director, Dermot Ryan, described the peering exchange as a critical component of the HSCN infrastructure, adding that the award of the contract was a “significant step forward in establishing an HSCN marketplace of assured network services”.
He said: “This marketplace will drive competition amongst suppliers, improve consumer choice, support innovation and deliver value for money. The peering exchange will allow HSCN customers, who are using different network suppliers, to reliably communicate by interconnecting multiple supplier networks.”
Redcentric – which is one of the largest suppliers of N3 connectivity solutions – will be responsible for providing the peer exchange on an initial contract for three years, with the option to extend for a further three years.
Mo Siddiqi, Redcentric’s chief operating officer, said that the company was “extremely proud to have been selected to underpin this key NHS Digital initiative” and was “totally committed to delivering this critical infrastructure and service”.
Meanwhile, the HSCN team is running a series of webinars for existing N3 customers on the HSCN Connection Agreement and procurement options over the next three weeks.