The BBC has awarded a £100m, seven-year contract to BT to provide its broadcast network.
The network, which will carry all video, audio and data traffic, as well as fixed line telephony, ISDN and broadband services, will link all BBC UK sites, including 21 broadcasting centres and local radio stations. It will also connect the main overseas bureaux and partners for playout of the BBC’s TV channels.
The broadcaster said the deal would save “tens of millions of pounds” when it begins in April next year.
The current broadcast network is provided by Vodafone UK through the BBC’s principal technology services provider, Atos.
BBC chief technology officer Matthew Postgate described the deal as “an important step towards building an internet-fit BBC and will allow us to provide more interactive and personalised content in the future”.
He said: “At a time when the BBC faces serious financial challenges, it will also save us tens of millions of pounds so we can focus more of our money on the programmes and services for licence fee payers.”
The BBC said use of the BT network will make it easier for the broadcaster to explore “data hungry” formats like UHD and to add extra services and capacity for major events, such as a general election or the Olympics, at a lower cost than with the current system.
The selection of BT follows a public procurement under the BBC’s Aurora Programme which is re-sourcing all of the BBC’s core technology services as the current Atos contract expires in April 2017.
The network will be operated by BT’s global media services operation, BT Media and Broadcast.
BT Media and Broadcast global vice president Mark Wilson-Dunn said: “We are delighted by the BBC’s decision to choose us as their next generation broadcast network partner.
“Both of our organisations have a vital part to play in making the best use of advanced technology to support and enable the ever accelerating evolution of broadcast media.”
There is an option to extend the seven-year deal by an additional three years.