4,000th public building joins the govroam network, providing roaming service for public sector workers.

Govroam allows public sector staff to connect to the internet in multiple locations while giving access to resources at their home organisation using any device – whether they’re managers, members of the emergency services, or people in multidisciplinary teams.

Head of network access at Jisc, Mark O’Leary, explains:

Anyone who has to travel to different offices and buildings regularly as part of their job will understand what a pain it can be to swap to different wi-fi networks at every new destination.

Identifying the correct network, sourcing the password, and actually logging on all takes time and effort. With the roll-out of govroam, we can remove these difficulties and help public sector staff to work more efficiently.

Venues connected to the govroam network include St James's University Hospital in Leeds, Camden Council in London, Tonbridge Castle in Kent and the Welsh Pembrokeshire Command, fire and rescue.

Mark adds:

Since the launch, we have been pleased to see enthusiastic uptake of govroam, particularly by the NHS, but also by local authorities and the emergency services.

The 4,000th public services venue to join the network is a bit of a landmark – and one we have reached sooner than expected.

This capability meets a number of needs, including:

  • Supporting the convergence of health and social care by allowing staff from various organisations to access network connectivity when visiting each other’s venues
  • Allowing multiple public agencies to share a building with a common secure wireless infrastructure, rather than each independently deploying their own duplicate versions
  • Offering a best practice standard solution for wireless visitor facilities across the public estate
  • Eliminating the need for expensive SIM-based data services
  • Reusing and extending the life of existing investment in wireless infrastructure

Rapid roll-out

Launched in July 2017, govroam was created by Jisc specifically for the public sector. It supports the trend towards multi-disciplinary activities, such as the convergence of health and social care and the need for greater connectivity across public services such as the NHS, government and blue light services. 

Since its introduction, govroam has been adopted across England, notably the Public Services Network (PSN) for Kent and the Yorkshire and Humberside region, and parts of London, and en masse in Scotland and Wales, where national networks SWAN and PSBA respectively have adopted govroam on behalf of their members.

How does it work?

The govroam service creates savings and efficiencies, providing public sector employees with a hassle-free way to securely access the internet. Visitors enjoys a ‘zero touch’ experience using their own device, joining the govroam network automatically, without needing to go through registration. Meanwhile, employers have the added benefit of being able to monitor the roaming behaviour of staff.

The identity of visitors is authenticated by their home organisation and, as a result, the visited site doesn’t have to manage processes around creating and rescinding guest accounts and is reassured that the status of their visitor has undergone a real-time check by their employer. This is achieved without requiring additional infrastructure or mandating changes to guest network design or user authentication regimes.

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Govroam evolved from its sister service eduroam – the established wi-fi service used by the further and higher education and research sector around the world, the UK instance of which runs on Jisc’s national research and education network, Janet, and nationally supports the roaming of up to three million unique devices each month. 

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