The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) aims to helps make Britain the world’s most creative and exciting place to live, visit and do business. DCMS protects and promotes Britain’s cultural and artistic heritage and help businesses and communities to grow by investing in innovation. One of the Department’s priorities is to transform the UK’s broadband network.

Fast, reliable broadband internet access is essential for homes throughout the country to benefit from online services, and for UK businesses to compete globally. Some areas of the UK have access to faster broadband speeds than others, with many rural areas receiving far lower speeds than cities and urban areas.

The Government wants to achieve a transformation in the UK’s broadband access. Current programmes in place are aimed at ensuring that virtually everyone in the UK can access broadband speeds of at least two megabits per second (Mbps), with 95% of the UK receiving superfast speeds (24Mbps). These programmes are also exploring approaches for providing superfast broadband coverage in the remaining areas.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is a team within DCMS that was set up to deliver the Government’s broadband strategy and widen access to superfast broadband, by:

  • Investing £790 million to stimulate commercial investment and bring high speed broadband to rural communities
  • Investing £150 million in ‘super-connected cities’ across the UK with access to 80-100Mbps broadband speeds
  • Removing red tape to make it easier to put in broadband infrastructure
  • Investing up to £150 million to improve the quality and coverage of mobile phone voice and data services

These changes will reinforce the UK’s position as a leading digital economy, and will help to create local jobs and national growth. The Government’s own programmes will help to bring broadband to parts of the country that would not otherwise be reached by the private sector.

To achieve this, BDUK has to work closely with many external stakeholders, including 44 local authority project teams, the Devolved Nations, and other Government Departments. The BDUK team turned to Huddle’s cloud content collaboration service to support the programme. Chris Smith, Local Projects Director, BDUK, explains:

“Several hundred people across the country need to have access to a large amount of guidance and template documents, including contracts and invitations to tender, and we regularly need to receive reports, contracts and other large documents and data by tight deadlines. We inherited Huddle from the South West Rural Development Agency and found it suited our needs, so when the contract came up for renewal, remaining with Huddle was not a difficult decision to take.

“Email would traditionally have been used to share a lot of the documents across internal and external teams, but it’s not practical. Information can get lost in people’s inboxes and large attachments mean mailboxes exceed their maximum storage limit, causing users not to be able to send or receive any more emails. Huddle had been used by a number of colleagues and was the ideal tool for securely sharing knowledge and communicating with people externally,” Smith continues.

Pan-government accredited at IL2 and used by 80% of central UK government departments, Huddle enables BDUK to keep track of document versions and set granular permissions so that only certain parties can gain access to specific documentation. Huddle’s intuitive interface ensures that everyone involved in a project can get up and running instantly and full audit trails mean BDUK can keep track of who has accessed and made any changes to files.

“We are now modifying our use of Huddle to improve the consistency of information requests and provision, so everyone now gets the same information at the same time,” says Smith. “Inboxes are no longer clogged up with huge PowerPoint presentations, guidance documents and images as Huddle has alleviated the pressure on storage. The files we share externally are now stored securely in the cloud and our stakeholders can easily access previous versions of files if needed. New members can quickly and simply be added to the system and new workspaces can be created instantly.”

As it is Software-as-a-Service, Huddle is always evolving, with updates and features released every four weeks. Smith concludes:

“Huddle is constantly being improved and the company takes customer feedback on board, listening to what we want and acting on our advice. The customer success team has also been great - making sure we have everything we need and keeping us informed of the latest features - as has the support team, during the rare occasions when their assistance is needed.”

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