Scottish ministers have revealed details of a plan to create a £325 million wide area network, dubbed SWAN, which will be available for use by all public service organisations within Scotland.
It is hoped that SWAN will create a single telecommunications service that enables infrastructure and service sharing, which will over time replace the existing model where individual organisations procure, implement and maintain their own network.
The initiative has stemmed from the McClelland Review of Scottish Public Sector ICT Infrastructure, which was released over the summer, and takes forward recommendations on collaborative procurement, aggregation of network demand and use of common standards.
An online procurement notice reads: "The SWAN programme is designed to deliver that single public services network in Scotland open to all public service organisations and with combined demand delivering both cost and performance advantages.
"Using an approach of common standards and interoperability SWAN will facilitate collaboration, locally, nationally and internationally."
In England the government is already well underway with the procurement of a national public services network (PSN). The Cabinet Office hopes that in three years' time 80 percent of its PC-based staff (four million users) will be on the network.
PSN providers will connect to Direct Network Service Providers (DNSPs) via the Government Conveyance Network (GCN). The GCN is, in effect, the backbone to the PSN, acting as the gateway between the networks of different service providers.
Suppliers have already been named for both the PSN services framework and the PSN connectivity framework.