Cardiff Council is looking to make savings and improve remote working with new networking technology that includes central IT administration and IP telephony.
The council is overhauling its network infrastructure as part of a five-year project to bring better internet and intranet access to councillors and employees working from home and at the council's 120 offices around the city.
The new Nortel network will also be used by more than 150 schools and libraries to connect to the Lifelong Learning Wales and UK SuperJanet education networks.
Cardiff plans to make further savings by using the city-wide network to centrally roll out new applications and upgrades for 18,000 staff working in branch offices and council departments, instead of physically visiting the sites.
"We have over 400 locations in Cardiff, including branch offices, libraries, schools and leisure centres that now connect back to our core network," said Colin Gadd, infrastructure manager at Cardiff Council.
"Over traditional ISDN there was not enough bandwidth, but now we can start rolling out new applications and upgrades remotely, making it more efficient."
Working with systems integrator Unified Networks the council has installed a Nortel IP virtual private network and firewall, so that councillors and home workers can access information from the council's intranet when working remotely.
The council has also installed Mitel Voice over IP within its City Hall and County Hall offices, and hopes to make further telephony savings by extending it to other city locations.
Cardiff council said that the new network would help improve learning in schools, allowing for faster deployment of new technologies.
"In addition to internet and email access, we are now well placed to start to offering video conferencing and other multimedia learning tools across the network," said Gadd.
One school is currently piloting wireless laptops among teachers. Primarily used for teaching, the laptops also electronically register children and send attendance data to school administration systems, said Gadd.
Using the Nortel infrastructure the council has also been able to win competitive tenders to manage other public services.
It recently won Consumer Direct Wales, a Department of Trade and Industry consumer advice and information service, which uses the Nortel telephony and data network.
"We are also looking at wireless solutions for our County Hall and City Hall offices," added Gadd.
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