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Gov Start Hunting New Supplier for £650m National Roadside Telecoms Service

Saturday, Mar 9th, 2024 (12:01 am) - Score 5,760
Red Road Closed road sign in a UK city street.

The UK government-owned National Highways organisation, which operates, maintains and improves motorways and major A roads in England (they also set related UK standards), appears to have begun the process of hunting for a new supplier to manage the roadside National Roads Telecommunications Services (NRTS) network. The estimated contract value is £650m.

The NRTS project currently provides services to over 30,000 end devices on over 3,500km of the strategic road network. These telecommunications services, supported by fibre optic data links, provide connectivity between control rooms and roadside devices, such as variable message signs, emergency telephones and CCTV cameras. The previous £450m contract for the NRTS was awarded to telent Technology Services Ltd in December 2017.

However, ISPreview notes that the government recently posted a new Prior Information Notice (PIN), which appears to be hunting a new supplier for the “provision, operation and maintenance of telecommunications services between the roadside and various central locations for National Highways“.


Description of the procurement

The current NRTS contract is due to come to an end in March 2027 and we have an exciting opportunity for new supply partner(s) who may be interested in bidding for this exciting and high value contract.

The scope of the contract includes the maintenance and deployment of NRTS services and is expected to cover cable-based, wireless and public network technologies, alongside undertaking several related service areas (for example provision of a NRTS service management system that is capable of wider use to support our management of roadside devices). Any new supply partner(s) will need to be in place at least six months before the contract end date to ensure a smooth transition of contract management and requirements.

The duration of the new contract is anticipated to be around seven years, with the option to extend by a further two years, with a value range of between 500,000,000 GBP and 800,000,000 GBP.

Due to the broad scope of the project, it is likely that a wide range of suppliers will be needed to deliver the NRTS3 contract requirements and, taking this into account, we think this opportunity will most likely be of interest to:

*Project management contractors;

*Telecommunications equipment suppliers;

*Telecommunications equipment maintainers;

*Fixed telecommunications network operators;

*Mobile telecommunications network operators (e.g. 4G, satellite, wireless broadband);

*Highways infrastructure civil contractors; and

*Small and medium enterprises with relevant specialist expertise. (It is anticipated that the contract will be awarded to 1 or more prime suppliers).

The PIN represents the start of a market engagement phase and the formal publication of a contract notice, as currently estimated, isn’t expected to follow until around the end of September 2024.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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4 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Nick Roberts says:

    Handsome . . £650 million over a 10 year contract, for 30,000 devices, that’s £2167 per device . . . home broadband suppliers would kill for that price.

    The previous £450 million contract comes in at £1500 per device, yielding a 44.47% price increase for the same estate over 10 years . . . meaning HMG are using a 3.2% annual inflation escalator.

    Personally I think the “Live” motorway signage could do with some expansion in the number of units, particularly around over-developed, grid-lock London . . . . . and perhaps more timely updating of the messages it shows

  2. Avatar photo Anon says:

    This will be used for ulez cameras

    1. Avatar photo R says:

      I actually approve of the ulez changes but addressing your point they won’t be. They’ll be on the TFL network (or tunnelled in over 4/5G).

  3. Avatar photo NE555 says:

    “Small and medium enterprises with relevant specialist expertise”

    Reminds me of Smith & Jones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8dB4YnLSsE

Comments are closed

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