Suppliers picked for £27m deal to run ‘nationally critical’ web domain

Firms will provide fully outsourced service for management of unnamed online platform

Credit: Mark Hultgren/Pixabay

Two suppliers have been picked to fulfil a multimillion-pound contract to run an online domain of national critical importance.

The commercial agreement represents a sub-section – namely lot 1d – of the wider £6.3bn Network Services 3 framework, which covers a wide range of connectivity and communications services.

The sub-lot covers the provision of “critical registry services to operate and manage nationally critical UK domains”. 

These services will be provided by Nominet, the UK’s internet domain name registry, and CentralNic, a London-listed domain services firm. The two companies will make a combined total of £27m via the deal, which runs until May 2025.

During that time, the companies will be tasked with the “provision and operation of the technical infrastructure” on behalf on an unnamed UK public sector entity, in order to enable the organisation in question to “manage and govern” an online platform of critical national importance. The platform in question is also not identified.


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As well as providing the underlying infrastructure, the engagement also provides for “the additional functions to enable the UK public sector authority to fully outsource the management and governance of a nationally critical public sector domain”.

Lot 1d and lot 1c are the first sections of the Network Services 3 framework to be awarded, with procurement documents published this week.

The latter covers “tactical radio systems” used in combat or other military environments.

Such systems are those that are “not reliant on any fixed communications and power infrastructure to operate and may need to be intrinsically safe to operate around electrically initiated munitions”.

A total of 13 suppliers have been appointed to this lot: BAE Systems; BlackTree Technologies; C3IA Solutions; Domo Tactical Communications; Elbit Systems; General Dynamics; L3Harris Communications Systems; Radiocoms Systems; Rockwell Collins; Steatite; Thales; TrellisWare Technologies; and Ultra I&C.

About £600m is expected to be spent with these firms over the initial two-year term of the framework.

The successful bidders for the other sub-sections of lot 1 and the other three multi-part lots are expected to announced next months.

The framework covers areas including wide and local area networks, analogue and digital communications services, and internet of things and smart-city offerings.

Sam Trendall

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