What is it?

PSN is the trusted, shared infrastructure that connects increasing numbers of organisations delivering public services to each other and to cloud based and hosted services they can use or share. Developed in 2011, after the Cabinet Office asked Industry to design an inclusive eco-system, the PSN was based on common Enterprise standards including performance and service, it’s made up of inter-connected commercial networks from many competing suppliers, so ensuring best value.

Why is it trusted?

To create the right environment for public service providers to share information and services, trust must be established between organisations. The annual PSN compliance process does this by ensuring that both suppliers and customer adhere to appropriate standards including security and technical interoperability. Using existing good practice and standard commercial services wherever possible, this approach creates ‘good and safe’ place for the PSN community to do business at least cost. This way, trust can be established  without direct contracts and previous experience.

How secure is PSN?

PSN provides an Assured Wide Area Network (WAN) suitable for using with information classified as Official (or Protect/IL2 in old terms). All services certified as PSN compliant are pre-accredited to ensure this and so cover the great majority of government requirements. Where information is classified as Official-Sensitive (similar to the old term  Restricted/IL3), then PSN can also meet this need with Protected WAN overlay services, using common agreed encryption or connectivity utilising  the Inter Provider Encryption Domain (IPED).

What’s the objective?

PSN aims to save the Public Sector money by better utilisation of conectivity and a greater choice of consumption and services and enable more efficient and joined-up public services. The initial aim was to provide a demonstrable £500m a year savings. This was achieved in 2013, according to HM Treasury.

What’s the benefit?

PSN saves money straight away by helping consolidate multiple networks, doing away with duplicate connections to other organisations, allowing the purchase of standardised, rather than bespoke services and promoting open and dynamic competition between suppliers.

Most importantly, PSN enables much larger benefits by providing the conduit for shared services, better collaboration and greater efficiency; transforming the way public services are delivered. Digital delivery to the citizen means that the public services ‘supply chain’ of processes, applications and information must be seamless and online too. PSN provides the trusted means to do this across departments, agencies and authorities.

How do I know if a service is ‘PSN’?

Before any supplier’s service can be connected to PSN it must be certified as complying with the relevant PSN standards. PSN compliant services can provide network connectivity plus a wide range of applications including voice, video, conferencing, collaboration, hosting, mail and many others. You can find a list of compliant services and those undergoing certification on the PSN website.
If in doubt, ask your supplier for the PSN compliance certificate for their service.

What about the PSN Frameworks?

Two procurement frameworks were let by the Crown Commercial Service in 2012, covering network connectivity (PSN-Connectivity) and a range of network services (PSN-Services). Although called ‘PSN’, the frameworks include both compliant and non-compliant services. To be clear, a PSN compliant service can be bought through any legitimate procurement mechanism and not solely through the PSN frameworks. Likewise, a listing on the PSN frameworks does not itself mean that a service is PSN compliant. Although extended into 2016, the PSN frameworks are due to be replaced with a new framework in 2015 called Network Services Framework which will list services that are PSN Compliant as an attribute, so removing any confusion between frameworks and compliance.

How do I connect to PSN?

Before connection to PSN as a user, you need to have PSN Compliance. This certifies that your network environment meets the basic requirements to connect to PSN, and ensure that you’re able to share and consume services across the PSN community. Find out more about becoming a customer from the PSN website. You also need to acquire a certified PSN connectivity service, whether that’s a complete WAN or just a single connection into PSN.

How do I make a service available on the PSN?

Any organisation, commercial, public or voluntary, can make services available to consume on PSN. Think of PSN as a ‘wire frame’ connecting hundreds of organisations on which shared services from communications to line of business or critical support applications can be hung. Doing this generally means gaining appropriate PSN certification as a service provider for each individual service before it can be connected to PSN.

More guidance on how to become a service provider is on the PSN website. Innopsis as the industry association for all PSN suppliers provides invaluable support from compliance workshops, networking and information to regular meetings with key stakeholders. PSN services can be sold through any legitimate procurement mechanism including the Digital Marketplace.

What’s the market for PSN services?

There’s a dynamic and open marketplace for PSN network connectivity and services, with many suppliers competing through the PSN frameworks, G-Cloud and other commercial routes. It is estimated that approaching £500m has been spent to date through the PSN frameworks and on PSN compliant services through other channels.  Innopsis is expanding with around 60 members, at least 50% of whom are SMEs entering the growing PSN market.

PSN General Documents and Technical Standards

Ever wondered what a vPoC is? Where does a PoI fit in? What exactly a DNSP is? What is PSN? What documents are in the overalll PSN Standards? The answers are here.

The core of the PSN Operating Model is the Technical Design Document (TDD). This describes the minimal technical standards of PSN Services.

To view or download the documents, please click here

Service Management Framework

In an environment where end to end service may be dependent on suppliers or other consumers who are uncontracted, there has to be a set of rules to obey, a way or working and a common vocabulary that all can understand. There needs to be an agreed ‘way of doing things’, otherwise there will be chaos. This does not have to be difficult or onerous, just following common sense practice.

The Service Management Framework decribes how PSN runs, day to day. For details of the documentation, please click here


How does a Supplier or consumer know that any services connected or connecting meet the agreed standards? Compliance provides a short cut to experience. Services and Customer Environments that meet the conditions described in the PSN Operating Model, and can be backed up by verification, also a rapid trust environment to be established.

How is this done? The PSN Compliance documentation provides the information.

To see the documentation, please click here

The importance of data centers during the pandemic

The importance of data centers during the pandemic

During the early days of the coronavirus outbreak many wondered if the internet would end up going down due to the dramatic increase in traffic from remote working, distance learning and people keeping themselves occupied while stuck at home.

In fact, research from Cloudflare revealed that internet usage swelled by over 25 percent in most major cities around the world as a result of lockdown measures. Thankfully though, data center providers were able to upgrade capacity to handle this added strain on their networks.

EU Court Overturns 2016 Block of O2 and Three UK Merger

EU Court Overturns 2016 Block of O2 and Three UK Merger

The European Court of Justice (General Court) has today annulled a decision by the European Commission’s competition authority, which in 2016 blocked mobile operators O2 and Three UK from merging. The ruling found that the decision to block the £10.45bn deal had failed to prove that such a merger would damage competition.

A merger between Three UK and O2 was always likely to attract a disdainful eye from regulators because it would reduce the number of primary Mobile Network Operators (MNO) in the United Kingdom’s mobile telecoms market from four to three, which is something that Ofcom, the CMA and EU competition authorities all warned could affect competition (i.e. less choice for consumers, damage the MVNO market and higher prices).

Virgin Media UK Bids Farewell to the High Street – Shuts Stores

Virgin Media UK Bids Farewell to the High Street – Shuts Stores

Cable and fibre optic broadband ISP Virgin Media UK has today decided that they will NOT reopen any of their 53 remaining high street retail stores after the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown ends, although all of those impacted by the move (341 staff) will be offered alternative roles within the company.

Arguably the writing for this move has been on the wall for awhile and the operator has already significantly reduced their high street presence. At the start of this year alone Virgin Media revealed that it intended to close 25 more of its stores and kiosks across the United Kingdom, but we didn’t expect another bombshell to follow quite so soon.

Survey on use of Covid-19 contact tracing app draws mixed reactions

Survey on use of Covid-19 contact tracing app draws mixed reactions

Initial findings from a study by researchers at Swansea University and The University of Manchester on the use of the UK’s planned Covid-19 contact tracing app has evoked mixed reactions.

The study so far found that only one-third of people will be downloading the app, who indicated they will do so for the “greater good”. The rest of the survey participants responded that they will not be downloading the app or are not yet sure about it.

Some of the commonly shared concerns among the people are that the contract tracing app will infringe on the privacy of individuals and that it will stigmatise those infected with Covid-19. Certain participants in the survey also believe that the app will not be used by a sufficient number of people for it to be effective.

UK officials’ focus on price damages IT procurements, report finds

UK officials’ focus on price damages IT procurements, report finds

The UK civil service focuses too closely on price in procurement decisions, a new report has claimed, and “lacks the capability and capacity to fully understand” how new IT systems will create “societal impacts such as excluding certain groups of people from services, biased decision making, or a lack of privacy.” The result, it argues, is that “these implications are often not given due weight, particularly in a technology context, when many cannot be quantified in monetary terms.”

The report, Buying better technology in government, has been produced by think tank Doteveryone – which was founded by Martha Lane Fox, the digital entrepreneur who helped set up the Government Digital Service (GDS) in 2011. It argues that civil service organisations should improve their ability to understand the implications of different choices in digital systems’ design and development, and create processes to assess their impact following delivery.

Time to Rethink UK Smart Cities?

Time to Rethink UK Smart Cities?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sudden rise of awareness of the unpreparedness of modern societies to deal with the consequences of widespread lockdown. But, says GlobalData Public Sector’s Tony Cripps, the shrewd use of ICT offers the potential for cities to finally channel their inner “smartness”.