BT is helping servicemen and women across the UK to communicate more easily with family, friends and colleagues through the launch of high-speed, fibre-optic wireless (Wi-Fi) networks.
Being stationed away from friends and family is an often unavoidable element of military work. Now more than 6,000 servicemen and women stationed at Oxfordshire’s RAF Brize Norton and 2,000 military and civilian personnel based at RAF Northolt, just outside London, can benefit from this communications boost, with access to a resilient and secure Wi-Fi service from BT.
At RAF Brize Norton, the largest station in the RAF, Wi-Fi is available for servicemen and women to contact loved ones, whether they’re permanently stationed on the base or en route to an overseas posting. With individual user speeds of approximately 30Mbps, the network provides enough bandwidth for a large number of people to communicate at the same time using almost any device. It covers virtually the whole site including the main airport terminal, Gateway House, permanent accommodation blocks and communal areas. Access to personal Wi-Fi is free for BT Broadband users, with flexible pay-as-you-go options also available.
The new network means RAF Brize Norton project leader Flt Lt Felicity Price can now use services such as Skype to keep in touch with her fiancé Flt Lt Alastair Jamison, who has been based in Cyprus for the past 15 months.
At RAF Northolt, the BT Wi-Fi network is helping transform the station to support 21st century needs and reduce costs. With its proximity to London, RAF Northolt has a role beyond just military flying; providing support to other military units, Government departments and NATO, as well as hosting VIPs visitors and civilian passengers from around the world. The Wi-Fi network installed across the station allows clear communication channels for ‘unclassified’ military, personal and commercial use, supporting personnel to work flexibly and increase their efficiency when away from their desks. Business use Wi-Fi is free for all users.
Bill Holford, client partner, Defence, BT Global Services, said: “Our working and private lives now rely on staying connected. Wi-Fi networks are helping Ministry of Defence sites to achieve that.
“Not only is the welfare of servicemen and women and their quality of life being improved but they also have the freedom do their jobs faster, better and from anywhere on the base. I’ve been amazed by some of the stories I’ve heard about how having access to the internet, something many of us take for granted, has made a real difference - enabling our service personnel to become more operationally and personally effective.”
Other services that are helping sites become better connected include public address tannoy systems, building management and security management services – all run over an IP infrastructure.