The Northern Grid for Learning has awarded an £8.3 million contract to BT Global services for PSN-compliant broadband services to schools and local authorities within the north-east of England. 

The deal will see BT deliver a regional wide area network (WAN), last mile connections to schools and local authorities, as well as security services. 

Northern Grid is a not-for-profit, regional broadband consortium that is owned by Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton, North Tyneside and South Tyneside. 

An online award notice detailed that BT will be expected to deliver improved and more cost-effective broadband services compared to Northern Grid’s current contract, which is due to end in July 2012. 

In a bid to comply with the government’s latest ICT Strategy, the network will also be fully PSN compliant, which will contribute to achieving the government’s goal of getting 80 percent of its PC-based staff (four million users) onto the PSN by 2014. 

The PSN aims to create a network of networks by joining up organisations, departments, authorities and agencies that deliver public services at local, regional and national levels. 

A catalogue of services will be sold to the public sector by a number of PSN providers, who will connect to Direct Network Service Providers (DNSPs), via the Government Conveyance Network (GCN). 

In January last year the London Grid for Learning signed a similar deal with Virgin Media Business, which detailed plans to transfer more than 2,000 schools in the capital onto to a new, fibre optic London PSN. 

The deal replaced a 10-year-old contract with broadband network provider Synetrix, and the migration of schools onto the new network is due to complete in June this year.