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2014 Digital Challenge Winners Announced PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Brunnen   
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 10:31



Winners have been announced today at the NextGen 14 conference and expo in Derby. 24 selected finalists competed for trophies in five categories of digital endeavour. An independent judging panel had assessed the finalists and the awards categories represent the emergent challenges brought about by the digital revolution.

Winners and Runners Up were as follows:


Connected Cities Award

WINNER       Virtual 1 for Wholesale Business Connectivity 

RUNNER UP  ITS Technology Group for Passive Infrastructure Partnership with Hammersmith & Fulham Council 

RUNNER UP  CityFibre for Peterborough Gigabit City Project

Urban & Rural Networks Award

WINNER       JT for Full FTTH Future for Jersey 

RUNNER UP  Cheshire Councils for Connecting Cheshire

Digital Inclusion and Advocacy Award

WINNER       ITS Technology Group for Social Housing Project 

RUNNER UP  Tinder Foundation and NHS England for Widening Digital Participation

Digital Education & Expertise award

WINNER       Lincolnshire County Council for OnLincolnshire Technology Hubs 

RUNNER UP  bITjAM Ltd for Coding Education for Young People 

RUNNER UP  Skills@Work for Well@Work Partnership with NHS Scotland

Open Data Award

WINNER       DVLA for ‘View Driving Record’ Project 

RUNNER UP  Leeds City Council for Leeds Data Mill

Summaries of all winners are below.

 Connected Cities Award

Winner – Virtual 1

Wholesale Business Connectivity

Positioned for 7 years as an ‘integrator’ of business services, the Virtual 1 challenge was to re-invent itself as a Carrier and take on major competitors by creating the largest Fibre Ethernet network in London.  The key to market entry was a clear focus on the business connectivity market.

Following massive re-investment, and over 2,000 man-hours to build, the expanded London metro network was delivered ahead of schedule. Being entirely self-funded, the new resilient network provides:

  • £1m Juniper core network investment – part of a 5 year investment providing 15Tb core routing platform and 6 CoS model, providing Partners a true carrier grade provision
  • Over 50 Points of Presence with increased Ethernet access to over 500,000 on-net premises
  • Over 1,200 cabinets on the footprint, 2,000+Gb ports, approx. 2.4 million route entries
  • Quadrupled geographic coverage across London with double the amount of dedicated dark fibre
  • Access speeds from 100Mb to 1Gb for fibre
  • 20M FTTC over Ethernet with only 20 working day delivery time
  • Direct links into all other UK network operators, supported by multiple 1 – 10Gbps interconnects
  • Co-location facilities and range of back-up solutions 

The company has been recognised for changing the marketplace in London and has turned pricing models for connectivity on their heads by reducing standard wholesale prices for 100Mb and 1Gb by 30%.  Virtual 1 has enabled its customers to win new business based on vastly expanded coverage in London, competitive commercial terms and speed of quoting and delivery.

Urban & Rural Networks Award

Winner – JT

Full FTTH Future for Jersey

Broadband delivered over a copper telephone wire has limitations. Speeds get slower the further they travel from the exchange, which means that some customers are only able to obtain an 'up to' speed. 

Fibre cables are capable of sending and receiving vast amounts of information over greater distances, enabling much faster upload and download.  In 2012 JT announced plans to replace the existing copper cabling with high-performance fibre-optic cables to provide an island-wide, ubiquitous fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network, incorporating all 42,000 premises on the island; known as Gigabit Jersey.

JT will ensure that all fibre products and services are made available not only to every premise on the Island, but also to all other service providers in the Island.  Gigabit Jersey stands out because most other providers only install fibre as far as the cabinet.  JT offers its customers a 50Mb, 100Mb or 1Gb symmetric (upload and download) broadband service - up to 25 times faster than maximum download speeds provided by fibre-to-the-cabinet infrastructures.

On schedule and on budget, a key milestone was reached in August 2014 with the 10,000th customer (30% of all broadband users) connected to the fibre-optic broadband network.  In just two years Jersey has gone from no FTTH to being one of the most connected economies in the western world.  By enabling a digital economy and industry, JT has significantly contributed to local economic growth and diversity.

Digital Education & Expertise award

Winner – Lincolnshire County Council for On Lincolnshire Technology Hubs Onlincolnshire Technology Hubs

A UK government report indicated that public investment should enable 90% of premises in Lincolnshire to access superfast broadband (SFB) by 2017. But it also showed that  81% of the population of East Lindsey (ELDC) and 55% of Boston are at high or medium risk of not being served on account of local demand perceptions.

The report advocated demand measures in areas of high deprivation to ensure that people are not digitally excluded. Communities and businesses in these areas, which have no or poor connectivity, require measures to raise awareness of the possibilities that new digital infrastructure creates, and to stimulate demand to use SFB and up to date digital technology.

To answer this call Lincolnshire County Council’s onlincolnshire project has set up five Lincolnshire Technology Hubs with each hub having a specialist slant and different host context: Mablethorpe in a business centre , Lincoln in a university setting , Boston at the town's college and the latest at Mortons Media Group, a private sector printing firm – itself an SME.  The fifth hub in Louth is run through the University of Lincoln and helps businesses and sports coaches to improve performance and processes.

The majority of the hubs have a mixture of 3D printers, 3D scanners, milling machinery, UV printers and laser cutting equipment to help local people and businesses with design, prototyping,small-scale fabrication and access to digital applications. There is also a library of smaller items such as a GoPro Cameras, WiBE and iPads available to borrow.

The success of the Onlincolnshire hubs goes far beyond our initial expectations and the key is our specialist business mentors linked to our technology offer.  With bespoke business support the programme has supported over 40 businesses so far with provision for a further 40 by the end of June 2015. We have organised five well-attended hub launches which attracted 275 attendees. We have also held 27 public demonstration and networking events and have a further 45 planned to reach and engage businesses, communities and learners of any age.

The hubs are contributing to the wider economy by sustaining and expanding local businesses, encouraging new approaches in local infrastructure and raising the skills and enterprise of people of all ages. Other outcomes include building local supply chains and accessing new local, regional, national and international markets. The Onlincolnshire hubs have also addressed local geography and demographics by providing high quality standards of differentiated delivery and support to meet local needs in remote rural and coastal areas.


Open Data Award

Winner - DVLA

DVLA ‘View Driving Record’ Project

The UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) database contains around 45 million driver records.   To provide an open digital enquiry service the project needed to conform to the Government’s digital service standards and adopt radical changes to the delivery approach, technology choices, procurement and cultural change, whilst delivering value for money and improved delivery timescales.

Working with Skyscape Cloud Services, the DVLA has delivered a highly cost-efficient and reusable digital service allowing drivers to check their licence information online. It is currently being expanded so the motor insurance industry and car-hire firms can access accurate driver details directly. This highly successful, pioneering project, now live, is an early government ‘Exemplar’ digital-service showcase project and has drawn attention from right across Government and around the world.

Benefits include:

  • Simpler, clearer, faster service for drivers to obtain information about their driver record;
  • Potential removal of the need for the paper counterpart of the driving licence;
  • Accurate driver information readily and securely obtainable by the insurance industry, resulting in reduced premiums for honest drivers; and
  • The creation of a proven, secure, scalable and re-usable information platform that the DVLA can build on, and other departments can replicate quickly and cost-efficiently.

The banked and projected savings are impressive. They include £15m+ savings from the way the project was delivered, and substantial savings that will be possible as the driving public and third parties bypass the DVLA call centre and serve themselves online.  Using the cloud means that peak usage levels do not have to be predicted and provisioned for. Capacity can be scaled on demand, as needed, so the DVLA will never have to pay for more than it needs.



NextGen 14 (in Derby) is the 7th annual conference managed by NG Events Ltd.  The event series, originally created to campaign for better broadband, has evolved to encompass many aspects of the economic and community impacts of digitalisation.

The Next Generation Digital Challenge Awards programme is managed in partnership with Groupe Intellex.  This is the 4th year for a competition where the Awards Categories are redefined each year to reflect the trends seen following the Open Call’ for entries.  The glass trophies are designed each year to interpret these Awards Categories. Trophy pictures available.



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