As Jisc looked to adapt to the changing network demands of UK education and research facilities, it turned to its long-term partner SSE Enterprise Telecoms to strengthen a pre-existing contract and launch new access infrastructure, to keep them connected globally.

The challenge

SSE Enterprise Telecoms has partnered with Jisc, the digital solutions provider for the UK education sector, for almost 20 years, bringing critical connectivity to many of the UK’s higher education institutions. Jisc’s priority is to continually develop to meet the needs of its customers, which are constantly evolving around distance learning, remote working and the general internationalisation of education.

Over the past two decades several key networking projects have been delivered by SSE Enterprise Telecoms leading to a strong relationship with Jisc. These projects have often involved complex network design challenges, providing the diverse and secure networks required to enable centres of learning to connect with their global counterparts.

Jisc chose SSE Enterprise Telecoms in the knowledge it could deliver the highest standards alongside the most precise delivery requirements, involving hundreds of individual facilities and numerous suppliers. SSE Enterprise Telecoms also enabled Jisc to move away from managed service agreements, giving them more autonomy over systems and specifications.

In 2019, Jisc needed to refresh it’s Janet South Network, which provides UK academic facilities with a highly reliable and secure world-class network, enabling national and international communication and collaboration. Jisc was also looking to extend its core backbone network contract, which provides the critical connectivity required to enable access to global research centres such as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. SSE Enterprise Telecoms was brought on board to support both projects.

Jisc plays a crucial role in ensuring that the UK has best-in-class educational facilities and remains at the forefront of scientific advancements. To provide this, Jisc must invest in state-of-the-art, high capacity autonomous networks to remain digitally relevant.

The Outcome

SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ core fibre network will continue to be utilised by Jisc’s UK backbone network until 2028. This will enable data-intensive research centres, including The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and Imperial College London, to have access to significant bandwidth and speeds of up to 100Gbps, ensuring their critical work remains uninterrupted thanks to SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ reliable network.

In addition, the project includes the unbundling of seven BT exchanges and utilising four existing Points of Presence to refresh the Janet South network, part of Jisc’s programme to develop a new Janet Network access infrastructure. This will provide improved connectivity to 11 universities, including Southampton and Surrey, and 80 local colleges between Aldershot and Bournemouth, ensuring classroom and distance learning experiences remain both seamless and faultless.

With a scalable and flexible network in place, Jisc will be able to continue to extend its reach and accessibility, supporting the future of UK education and research.

About Jisc

Jisc is a not-for-profit company, providing the UK’s national research and education network, Janet, and technology solutions for its members – colleges, universities and research centres. It is funded by the UK higher and further education and research funding bodies and member institutions.

Jisc does three main things for its members:

  • Operates and develops the super-fast and secure Janet Network, as well as its built-in cyber security protection.
  • Helps save time and money by negotiating sector-wide deals with IT vendors and commercial publishers
  • Provides trusted advice and practical assistance on digital technology

Jisc’s vision is for the UK to be the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world.

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