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Holes remain in Whitehall use of PSN



Updated telecoms infrastructure report says non-PSN networks remain in central government

Some central government departments and their agencies are not yet making full use of the Public Services Network (PSN), according to the new version of the Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Maps published by the Cabinet Office.

The introduction says that some government bodies are not using the PSN for all of their networks, citing the examples of the Home Office leasing separate networks for some standalone functions, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs using its own wide area network to connect staff and agencies.

It says the Home Office is working to rationalise its networks under the PSN, and includes a map which shows the location of these at specific sites. The Government Digital Service recently announced that the programme to simplify compliance with the PSN has moved into its beta phase.

While the PSN is widely used by central government and an increasing number of local authorities, the Scottish public sector and Northern Ireland Executive have their own wide area networks.

Updated from interim

The report provides an update and extra information from the interim version published in early February.

It highlights the potential of government telecommunications and digital infrastructure to be used more widely, including the possibility of siting mobile network masts on government buildings. It says that a model agreement and rate card for London have already been agreed.

"With interest from mobile network operators, this policy has real potential to extend and enhance connectivity," it says

There is also a principle in place to make government buildings available for fixed connectivity apparatus; and the report says that onshore wind turbine sites could be used to extend broadband connectivity in remote rural areas.

"Government is exploring how it might be possible to facilitate sharing and the use of infrastructure for more than one purpose across industries in order to expand connectivity in hard to reach areas, and to promote network sustainability across the country," the report says.

The Government Digital Service has recently reported that the new compliance measures for the PSN, aimed at making it easier for organisations to connect, have moved into the beta phase.

Image: Rozszerzonej Gwiazdy, public domain

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