Skip to main content

HSCN customer journey

The N3 contract for wide area data network services in the NHS ended as planned on 31 March 2017.

For a fixed amount of time, NHS Digital has put in place a Transition Network which retains elements of the legacy N3 infrastructure and provides service continuity for existing customers. However, organisations and services connected to this need to migrate to new HSCN connectivity as soon as possible.

You can obtain HSCN connectivity through a number of different routes from a list of approved suppliers.

Executive summary

You have an option to join an aggregated procurement run by NHS Digital, or to mobilise and run your own collaborative self-serve procurement with partners. You can also run your own individual self-serve procurement.  

In an aggregated procurement NHS Digital will plan, manage and direct a regional-based procurement for you on the new HSCN dynamic purchasing system (DPS) called RM3825. To do this we'll group you into a buying club with other organisations in your region to optimise your procurement. The new DPS allows HSCN compliant suppliers to compete to provide you with a catalogue of HSCN connectivity services. You'll have an opportunity to feed in your requirements prior to us running the procurement, and once it completes you can order the services you need from the winning supplier.

In a collaborative self-serve procurement, you'll need to plan, manage and direct your own procurement in collaboration with your health and social care partners. You can use the new HSCN DPS or other routes, such as via Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), the existing RM1045 framework or by using the HSCN DPS. NHS Digital can provide you with procurement and project management templates and advice, but you're ultimately accountable and responsible for your procurement.

Once your procurement is complete, whether that's something you run yourself or that NHS Digital does on your behalf, you'll need to work with your supplier to co-ordinate the delivery and migration of your new HSCN services. Across the country, HSCN suppliers will be working with the NHS Digital HSCN Deployment Office to coordinate the overall migration from the Transition Network.

Further guidance for NHS organisations:

See the HSCN procurement options page for comprehensive advice and guidance on procuring HSCN services please .

Further guidance for non-NHS organisations:

Advice for private sector organisations migrating to HSCN

HSCN: an introduction for social care organisations

Tips and best practice for HSCN migration

This guidance has been broken down into a number of stages, from contract award to an HSCN consumer network service provider (CNSP) onwards, to help you through this process. 

The HSCN Migration Checklist provides details of the actions you'll need to take at each stage of your migration to HSCN from the Transition Network and should be consulted at all stages of your journey.

1. Stage 1 CNSP award

After completing your HSCN procurement by awarding to a CNSP   you’ll need to make sure everything is in place for your HSCN migration. The best way to prepare for HSCN migration is to establish a strong working relationship with your chosen CNSP and NHS Digital as early as possible. You should:  

  • be pro-active - don’t assume that things will just happen
  • ensure you have the appropriate project management and technical resources in place, and that they will be available throughout the whole of your migration journey
  • maintain regular communication at all levels - setting up meetings and communication channels at this stage can make sharing information much easier at later stages, particularly if you have a lot of sites and connections to migrate
  • ask for help and support when you are unsure, whether technical or otherwise - you may find it useful to read more about HSCN and you should be in regular contact with your HSCN migration manager and CNSP’s HSCN team through each stage

2. Stage 2 order placement

After you award to your chosen CNSP and confirm what connectivity and services you require, you’ll need to provide certain site and service information to place your orders for HSCN services with them.

To ensure this goes as smoothly as possible we recommend you:

  1. Speak  to your CNSP to agree what information they will need from you.
  2. Should be proactive and keep in close contact with  your CNSP  to identify anything that may be difficult to obtain as early as possible.
  3. Analyse your N3 circuit estate to make sure you are aware of any attached services and network traffic volumes. Use the HSCN discovery form to do this.   
  4. Confirm if you have any shared voice or video services with sister sites or organisations. You will need to make them aware of any impact your migration will have to these shared services.  You can read our buying replacement voice and video services guidance and your voice and video services to HSCN.
  5. Plan and perform site surveys to understand your estate, with the appropriate technical support, to avoid risk of delays to your order placement  
  6. Assess your business needs and determine your new circuit bandwidth and resiliency requirements before placing orders. It may cause delays if you need to change this further down the line.  You should consider both your immediate needs and plans for upcoming applications/upgrades when deciding on your replacement service. Getting your order right means you don’t risk paying too much for a service you don’t use or having a lower level of service than you require.
  7. Agree and share your network design with your CNSP, get their feedback as early as possible, and complete their order form.  

3. Stage 3 services deployed pre-migration

After you’ve placed new service orders with your CNSP they will deploy them to your sites ahead of your agreed migration date.

The amount of work and time involved in this will vary greatly depending on what services are ordered and site locations. This could be something as simple as delivering a new router, which usually takes around 3 months, up to having to complete civil engineering works to install new network cables, which could take up to 12 months.

If you think you will need major works, we recommend you make your CNSP aware as soon as possible.

You should also: 

  • identify and assign suitable site contacts, who will be responsible for specific HSCN migration for the site - see the migration checklist for more information on these activities
  • communicate plans to all site owners and agree site contacts - the site contacts will be the ones responsible for the migration on the day so it is important to keep them informed
  • ensure CNSP site surveys have been undertaken and any civil works and excess costs have been estimated and can covered within the budget

Order  new, or update existing, network room equipment before the migration. Check you have enough cabinet and rack space for any new equipment. You’ll need space for both your N3/TN equipment and HSCN equipment if you plan on dual running for a period. If the equipment is not ready on the day, or it is not fit for purpose, this could cause your migration to fail.

Define the specific circuit locations for installation at your sites. Communicate this clearly to your CNSP and the site contact, label these on site and take photographs for the engineers to refer to where possible. There may be multiple different engineers visiting your sites during the migration journey and making sure they can find the circuit locations quickly and accurately will make these visits go smoothly.

Request delivery updates from your CNSP and keep your site(s) informed of progress and planned visits. Cancelling (and rebooking) site visits from your CNSP or Openreach because site staff aren’t aware and prepared for them will cause delays to your migration date.

4. Stage 4 booking a site migration slot

Once your service is delivered you’ll need to book a migration slot. This will be arranged between you and your CNSP. To make sure you get a suitable slot you should:

  1. Confirm your migration date with your CNSP - we recommend that you book your slot around 6 weeks, in advance to allow for planning and to guarantee the slot you need is available.
  2. Plan and gain approval for change windows and confirm that on-site support is available at the time. Make sure the site content and any additional support staff are available during the change window to minimise the risk of failure or disruption to your services . 
  3. Ensure site contacts and support staff are prepared for migration. Make sure they are aware of any requests from your CNSP and Openreach and are familiar with the relevant sections of the migration checklist.
  4. Confirm with your CNSP and site contact that pre-installs of any new equipment have been successful and that the conditions and equipment at the install locations are as expected.
  5. Once you have a migration date confirmed, submit a BT cease request for your Transition Network connection. These can take 30 to 90 days to process depending on the type of service, so submit this as early as possible to save you paying bills for your Transition Network connection after migration. If, for any reason, you choose not to cease the service on the planned date the cease notice can be withdrawn and submitted again any number of times. Read our cease guidance. 
  6. Complete pre-migration testing to ensure that your services are replicated and working after migration. See our tips on HSCN readiness testing. 

5. Stage 5 migration complete N3/TN service ceased

  1. Confirm the migration has been successful by completing some immediate post migration testing. 
  2. When you are happy the migration has been completed confirm you have submitted a BT cease request for the legacy service with your HSCN migration manager.
  3. Read the HSCN Consumer Handbook and HSCN Technical Guidance as they contain all the information you will need to manage your HSCN service.
Last edited: 16 October 2019 1:39 pm