London public sector organisations join forces to improve Wi-Fi connectivity

The NHS, local government and universities in London are teaming up to provide seamless roaming internet access for their staff and students across the capital.

The ‘Connectivity over London’ project, established by Claire Priestley, Director of IT at City, University of London; Omid Shiraji, CIO, Camden Council and Stuart Brown, Director of ICT, University of London, links the successful govroam and eduroam networks for the first time. Users of these complementary networks can now logon and access the internet securely in hundreds of new public-sector locations around London.

Greater connectivity

With the challenges of supporting a mobile workforce, across buildings, borough borders and locations, the adoption of Govroam and eduroam is gaining traction among local government, the health and social care community, and education sector. The project allows users to connect securely to the internet from multiple locations without having to log in. This will save time, improve security and allow users to access their own documents and resources remotely therefore improving Wi-Fi availability for students and public sector staff in London.

“Effective collaboration between sectors”

Omid Shiraji, Camden Council interim CIO said: “Here is a great example of how a simple collaboration between digital leaders across sector boundaries can make an incredible difference to the way our staff and our students are able to work in London. I’m proud that Camden, as Digital Council of the Year 2017, continues to lead the way in UK local government transformation and delighted that our partners across health, local government, education and the GLA family are coming together to drive change.”

Stuart Brown, Director of ICT, University of London said: “After I met Claire and Omid, I realised that this was a brilliant opportunity to improve Wi-Fi connectivity and productivity across London. Projects like this, where you share services with other organisations, often don’t happen, whether that’s for political, economic or contractual reasons. The govroam/eduroam service is so simple that these barriers simply do not exist.

“It was easy and cheap to set up and users in London will be able to automatically and securely connect to Wi-Fi wherever govroam or eduroam is present. It has been great to be part of this project - I think it’s a perfect example of what you can achieve from effective collaboration between sectors.”

Claire Priestley, Director of IT Services at City said: “This is such an exciting time to be involved in technology. I believe that London will soon be at the forefront of data and digital innovation and to really make the most of the opportunities which that will create, we need to be open to working together across sectors.”

“This concept is such a simple one – as CIOs and IT Leaders across London we all have the infrastructure, and for minimal investment and effort we can make a real improvement in the experience for our users. I have been so pleased with how well the idea has been received – we’ve had a great response, with our counterparts in every sector immediately recognising the benefits and agreeing to get involved.”

Theo Blackwell, London’s Chief Digital Officer, said: “This is a great step spearheaded by London’s forward-thinking public sector tech community. Through this common-sense collaboration, public servants will be able to work together and in much more mobile and effective ways across locations, enabling them to meet Londoners’ needs better.”

Next steps

The project has been trialled in London with public sector organisations, including the NHS, Local Authority, Police and Government, Higher Education and the charity sector. Phase 2 will look to expand to further education, other not-for-profit organisations, TFL and the Fire Brigade.