22nd February 2023
Shared Access announces the installation of mobile connectivity infrastructure inside the National Gallery offices in London.
One Gallery Hub is the new office accommodation at the heart of the famous Grade I listed building. It has been designed to offer seven floors of inspirational, collaborative and efficient work spaces for over 250 gallery staff – as well as offering support for those working from home. The provision of reliable mobile phone coverage for staff in the dedicated spaces was an imperative.
After a competitive tender process, Shared Access was appointed by the National Gallery to design, deploy, operate and maintain a multi-operator mobile connectivity service within its new accommodation hub.
Sam Jackman, Chief Development Officer, Shared Access:
“It’s a spectacular new office space, but like so many other buildings it suffered with poor mobile phone coverage. This was due to a combination of original thick stone and brick walls, highly insulating modern construction materials – that essentially repel a mobile phone signal from outside – and the growth of buildings in the surrounding area which effectively blocked phone signal from reaching the building.
“We were asked to provide connectivity infrastructure that would deliver mobile coverage in all the office spaces, common areas and basement meeting rooms, to ensure operational efficiency for teams and individuals working in the Hub as well as those working remotely. As the National Gallery is a Grade I listed building, our solution also had to be aesthetically sympathetic to the environment.”
The system installed consists of a DAS (Distributed Antenna System) inside the One Gallery Hub building, which is connected via dedicated dark fibre to a BTS Hotel (base station hotel) located four miles away. Limited available space at the National Gallery required an innovative solution for siting of the extensive telecoms equipment needed to service the connectivity. Shared Access’ BTS Hotel houses all the mobile network operators’ equipment in a dedicated and secure off site location. EE, Virgin Media O2 and Vodafone are the first live operators with Three due to join imminently.
The project was designed, installed and fully funded upfront by Shared Access who provide ongoing monitoring, maintenance and support of the site in partnership with the mobile network operators.
The investment has seen mobile phone signal improved throughout the building as well as significantly improved data rates and speeds. The system has the potential to be extended to other parts of the Gallery and designed to be able to offer 5G services in the future.
Mark Keenan, Director, Real Wireless:
“We were engaged by The National Gallery to provide independent advice and support in connection with their desire to ensure their staff and visitors had access to high quality mobile communications in their new office space. Whilst their requirements in terms of connectivity were relatively standard, the restrictions imposed on equipment space and site works were onerous. We developed a detailed specification that captured all the requirements and went out to the neutral host market. The offer from Shared Access was unique in many ways and fully compliant with the tender requirements, with the remote base station hotel being particularly novel at that time. Their approach to the design and implementation of the DAS has been to a high standard and they have managed to deliver mobile services into the building to budget. The system also provides a platform for future expansion into public areas and, if desired, the potential to support public and private 5G technologies.”
Len Nunn, Head of Information Systems, The National Gallery:
“This development of our new integrated office environment included significant technical investment, with the introduction of mobile connectivity throughout the space. Notwithstanding the physical constraints of the architecture and location, a solution had to be found that guaranteed mobile phone connectivity, ensuring staff wellbeing and the optimal function of our business. This has been achieved through our partnership with Shared Access. The combination of their technical expertise and business model, which funds all the up-front costs in exchange for an annual operating fee, has delivered a cost effective and highly successful solution for us.”
James Hope, Director of Mobile Radio Access Networks, EE:
“Fast and reliable mobile connectivity within the workplace is not only an essential enabler of modern business, but also an expectation of the modern workforce. Neutral host networks provide a versatile and cost-effective solution for commercial property owners to meet this growing requirement for unhindered connectivity, and we’re pleased to be partnering with Shared Access to deliver our superfast 4G coverage to EE customers within the National Gallery’s employee base.”
Alan Harper, Head of Access Delivery, Virgin Media O2:
“Businesses, just like consumers, are relying on fast and reliable mobile connectivity more than ever. This is a great example of the industry taking an innovative and collaborative approach to improving connectivity, and we’re delighted to see it has resulted in noticeable improvements in data rates and speeds for those working out of the National Gallery offices.”
Kathryn Platt, Head of UK Indirect Business, Vodafone:
“Reliable mobile connectivity is vital to today’s businesses, employees and customers. Despite the challenges of the building, The National Gallery have recognised this and invested in improving mobile phone signal. We are delighted to be partnering with Shared Access to deliver 4G coverage within the National Gallery, resulting in significantly improved data rates and speeds to the benefit of their employees. This is a great example of what can be achieved by taking a collaborative industry-wide approach.”
Copyright free images of the project can be found here.
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