The UK Government is trialling a public-sector Wi-Fi standard called PSNRoam to enable workers to connect to any public authority Wi-Fi network automatically.
PSNRoam is being led by Surrey County Council and could see the creation of a new Government standard that would allow any device with the relevant certificate to access any public sector organisation’s Wi-Fi network.
The Group IT Manager and President of Socitm Nick Roberts said PSNRoam is about “enabling connectivity, which is a bit like internet cafe-style connectivity, over corporate Wi-Fi infrastructure, where traditionally you can’t easily get in – you’ve got to get a certification or Wi-Fi password.” He also went on to say that “this way you get a certificate on the device, so it’s a trusted device, and that gives you access over another person’s corporate infrastructure – so another Government agency or local authority – and routes you to your home network.”
Surrey County Council has already received backing from the Cabinet Office and although they are the first authority to conduct the project, Nick Roberts has said that they are “also working with a couple of borough councils in Surrey so that we can test it between ourselves, because you need more than one.”
Although the PSNRoam project’s servers are owned by the Cabinet Office, they are in place and will be managed by the same team behind the existing EduRoam system, which provides similar Wi-Fi access for those at universities.
Nick Roberts has said that once the pilot is live he hopes to extend it by getting a few more organisations on board to help “prove its value”. He believes that if the pilots do prove successful they could lead to the creation of a new standard that would enable any public authority to provide Wi-Fi access. However, the final call on whether the PSNRoam will be installed nationwide as a set standard is down to the Cabinet Office.