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  1. Technology
August 29, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

The Siemens AG-controlled Norton Telecommunications hopes to win future deals with UK government departments on the back of a UKP5.4m contract to cable prison and remand centres around the country. The contract for 30 Norton NTX digital PABXs and a new cabling system is primarily intended to ensure that prisons with ageing Strowger switches can transmit data as well as speech. In addition, the new telephone systems offer directory packages and call logging. Norton is reported to have beaten British Telecom and Telephone Rentals Plc to the contract mainly because of its ability to meet the stringent criteria specified by the Home Office, prompted by security considerations. Chief among these was the necessity to have a maintenance engineer permanently stationed on the Isle of Wight in order to service the Parkhouse Prison installation. A total of 95 prisons and remand centres will be wired up with the new system which the prison service estimates will afford cost savings of up to UKP2m per annum plus provide enhancements including integrated voice and data transmission. Norton said that the re-wiring of centres would be implemented under a strict code of security in order to safeguard useful equipment such as drills and was expected to be a complicated procedure. Current staffing shortages and prison and remand overcrowding mean that only two wiring installations per site can be properly supervised at any time and work is expected to take three years. The equipment maintenance contract is worth UKP250,000 and will run once the installation is complete.

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