Fibre-optic network to connect 50 sites in East London

17 August 2011 | Kavit Majithia


UK-based Virgin Media Business will provide a fibre-optic network for the East London NHS Foundation Trust to connect 50 of its sites in the region.

With the network, Virgin Media Business says that it will give a better performance and reliability to desktop users, and will provide access speeds at an average of 10Mbps. The Trust is increasingly using applications to support patient care, which includes patient record services, internal clinical systems and other national NHS services. It says, with access to a managed virtual private network (VPN), it significantly improves communications and use of such applications, and replaces an ageing BT metro VPN it has used on legacy ATM technology for years. With each link on the old network, it could only provide a maximum of 34Mbps in comparison to access of over 1Gbps, now available with the new fibre-based link.

“The NHS uses a lot of hosted applications and we looked at various alternatives but found that ADSL-based solutions are just not as reliable or as fast as fibre-optic...” said Jonathan Buchan, ICT manager at East London NHS Foundation. “Additionally, the Ethernet VPN offering is the only product on the market that we can use straightaway without customising it or investing our time implementing. The fact that its fully managed by Virgin Media Business is also a big help because it means we don’t need to worry about day to day issues and can be assured it will run as it should.”

The Trust states this investment is necessary to continue moving with rapid technological innovation in healthcare, with such advancements occurring in both the private and public sectors.

“For NHS Trusts dealing with rapidly changing patient information and in real time there is no alternative but to look at delivering this performance through high-speed, fibre-optic Ethernet based IVPN,” added David Astley, head of public sector, health and emergency services at Virgin Media Business.