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National Gallery, London.

After a competitive tender process, we were appointed by the National Gallery (one of the greatest art galleries in the world) to design, deploy, operate and maintain a multi-operator mobile connectivity service within its new office hub at the heart of the famous Grade I listed building in London.

One Gallery Hub was 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. 


The challenge

Like so many other buildings, One Gallery Hub 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. 

Our solution had to deliver mobile coverage for all four UK mobile operators across seven floors, including a substantial basement, while also being aesthetically sympathetic to the environment. 

The solution

We installed a DAS (Distributed Antenna System) inside the One Gallery Hub building, which  connected via dedicated dark fibre to a BTS Hotel (base station hotel) located four miles away. Limited available space at the National Gallery had required an innovative solution for siting of the extensive telecoms equipment needed to service the connectivity. Our BTS Hotel houses all four mobile network operators’ equipment in a dedicated and secure off site location and offers considerable energy and cost efficiencies. 

We designed, installed and fully funded the project upfront and provide ongoing monitoring, maintenance and support of the site in partnership with the four mobile network operators. 

The result

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.

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.”

Iain Milligan, Chief Network Officer, Three UK:

“The National Gallery is a historic building but its architecture featuring thick walls was not designed with mobile coverage in mind. Working with Shared Access, this new in-building connectivity solution will give our customers access to excellent 4G coverage while visiting, in addition to freeing up capacity for others in this busy part of Central London.”

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.”

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