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Defence Fixed Telecommunications Services

Volume 515: debated on Wednesday 8 September 2010

I wish to inform the House that my Department has recently extended our public-private partnership contract with BT Group to provide the Defence Fixed Telecommunications Services (DFTS). DFTS provides secure and survivable wide area network voice, data and video telecommunications services to defence users in the UK and abroad, and also to defence and industry partners including the National Air Traffic Systems and the Met Office. The services provided under the contract are vital to the daily operation of the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces, both in peace and at war.

The current contract, which expires in July 2012, has been extended for three years until 2015 under existing contractual provisions. The extension is valued at about £810 million. It is expected to achieve net operational and financial benefits in excess of £90 million and, through taking full advantage of BT’s 21st century network programme, will lead to improvements in performance and security which would otherwise be unachievable. A number of impending obsolescence issues will also be resolved.

Work is under way to re-compete the contract before this extension comes to an end in 2015. This will form part of a major overhaul in the way the MOD procures and manages voice, data, video and information and communication technology services, and will reflect the outcome of the strategic defence and security review.