Partnership to deliver high-speed connectivity to London Underground

BT has announced the signing of a multi-million-pound contract with BAI Communications (BAI), to deliver a core part of the company’s data centre requirements as it works with Transport for London (TfL) to enable high-speed mobile and Wi-Fi coverage on the London Underground. 

BAI has been awarded a 20-year concession with TfL to deliver a backbone of full mobile and digital connectivity across London, giving customers uninterrupted coverage whilst on the Tube and within stations. It will also deliver a new full-fibre network to provide London’s homes and businesses with faster internet and better connectivity. 

The deal closely follows BAI’s announcement that Three and EE, BT Group’s mobile arm, are the first to join its ‘neutral host’ network. This will be available for use by all mobile operators and will provide 4G and 5G-ready mobile infrastructure, allowing for seamless upgrades in the future. The infrastructure will also be made available to the Emergency Services Network (ESN), which uses EE’s award-winning 4G network. 

To help BAI deliver this neutral host infrastructure for mobile operators, BT Wholesale will provide the company with premium data centre space in London, along with high-bandwidth connectivity, whilst using 100 per cent renewable power for all sites. As part of the solution that BAI is building, all UK mobile operators will be able to co-locate their equipment within these data centres, with BT Wholesale operating and managing these sites as a neutral party on behalf of EE and all other UK mobile operators. 

BT’s data centres and network are powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity, with the Group bringing its Net Zero target forward by 15 years to 2030 for its own emissions and 2040 for its supply chain and customer emissions. This will help BAI contribute to meeting the UK Government’s objective of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Alex Tempest, managing director for BT Wholesale, said: “Today’s deal is further evidence of BT’s commitment to boost the capital’s digital infrastructure – helping London maintain its status as a great place to live, work, and do business. We are busy doing that through the expansion of the Openreach fibre and EE mobile networks, together with our leading wholesale capabilities. 

“We are really proud to be playing a key role in enabling the delivery of this critical digital infrastructure project for BAI and look forward to our relationship building further from here.” 

Billy D’Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK, said: “This deal marks a significant step in our progress towards delivering high-speed mobile coverage across the London Underground network, with BT’s data centres playing an essential role in helping London leapfrog other major cities in terms of connectivity. BT Wholesale’s services will support our neutral host infrastructure in transforming the experience of customers with all UK mobile operators, providing seamless, 5G-ready coverage that will allow passengers to move around the capital more smartly, safely, and securely.” 

The deal forms part of BT Wholesale’s wider Edge Computing strategy, which is focused on bringing new customer experiences to market by harnessing the power of edge compute, BT’s leading 5G network and its innovation and partnering capabilities. 

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