BT has won a monster networking contract for the European Union. The British firm will supply 15 EU institutions, including the Commission and Parliament, over a four to eight-year period. The contract is worth €162 million (£113m).

BT will provide a variety of secure IP network services including wide area networks (WANs), remote access, telecommuting, Internet fallback and network consultancy. "There is room for growth within the contract to provide a wider scope of services in the future, including voice-over-IP," said a BT spokesman.

At the moment, worldwide access to and from remote sites of the Commission, Parliament and European Council come through different types of circuits, including leased lines, satellite links and virtual circuits. That framework will be replaced in a migration period expected to last at least 18 months.

Terms of the initial four-year contract allow it to be extended by an additional four years, subject to reviews every two years. BT and the EU Directorate-General for Informatics (Digit) declined to name the other companies that participated in the contract tender process launched last year.

Over eight years the WAN services are expected to have 370 service objects with 1,040 operations, the remote access services will require 256,000 hours of consumption for different user profiles, and up to 2,800 individual teleworking service sites will be required, Digit said. BT estimates that it will sub-contract 48 percent of the work.

In addition to the Commission, Parliament and Council, the contract also covers: the Court of Justice; the Court of Auditors; the European Economic and Social Committee; the Committee of the Regions; the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions; the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products; the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union; the European Food Safety Authority; the European Maritime Safety Agency; the European Aviation Safety Agency; and the European Agency for Reconstruction.