Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital is an independent financial institution with a social mission, to help grow the social investment market in the UK. The organisation was set up to help make sure that charities and social enterprises can find appropriate and affordable repayable finance to meet their capital requirements.

Big Society

The Challenge

Big Society Capital has occupied the same office space in London’s Fleet Street since late 2011. As it headed towards its lease break in 2015, Head of Operations Andrew Aspital knew a move would be required:

“Our team had simply expanded beyond the capacity of the space we had. We had eaten into meeting room space for desks and we needed a larger office.

By Christmas, Big Society Capital had chosen its new office at New Fetter Lane and started the legal process to take on the lease. A few days into the New Year, Aspital placed an order for a BT Fibre line to connect the new office.

The move was scheduled for June 2015, but after a string of site surveys, landlord plans and incorrect documentation, it was obvious that Big Society Capital needed a plan B as the Fibre line would not be ready in time.

The Approach

Big Society Capital needed an alternative to Fibre that could be installed quickly so as not to delay the move date. Aspital was prepared to consider a range of technology options but was aware that the solution was unlikely to be hardwired into the building as that would create difficulties given the limited time frame.

Big Society Capital outsources all of its ongoing IT to a support company who suggested Luminet’s Network in the Sky

Aspital comments; “By this stage I was losing a lot of sleep over this delayed connection. It was the biggest issue of the entire move project. It was a constant topic of conversation between the executive team and operations.”

He continues; “When we discovered that another company, three floors above us in the same building was already using Luminet for its primary day-to-day internet connection, I saw light at the end of the tunnel. The building obviously had the necessary line-of-sight connection for Luminet to be able to supply connectivity.”

The IT support company contacted Luminet on a Friday, two weeks before the move date.

“We exchanged a flurry of emails with John Balfour-Lynn at Luminet and quickly gathered a very positive impression of him and the company. By the end of that day we understood lead time requirements, costs and the technical details of the service. John was outstanding – all I got was solutions. We were told they could install within two weeks and I must confess that I was sceptical – although the prospect of course appealed!”

The Results

The email exchange led to a meeting scheduled straight after the weekend, leaving Aspital with no doubts that Big Society Capital’s requirement was being taken seriously.

With the agreement made, the process got fully underway the following day with Luminet initiating a site survey, landlord liaison, documentation, risk assessments and solicitor paperwork.

The installation of Luminet’s Wireless Lite service (previously known as Fibre-Air) started at 6.00am on moving day, two weeks after the process commenced. The early start was needed as Big Society Capital’s new landlord required any work to be conducted outside of office hours. All work on the roof was completed well before office hours began, and then moved inside to run wiring into the comms cabinet and install routers.

Aspital comments, “The Luminet installation team worked hand-in-hand with our IT support company, and everyone knew exactly what they were doing at every point. The network was perfect and with the installation squeezed into our tight timeframes we didn’t lose any operational time at all come move day.”

Six months later, Big Society Capital is still using the 100Mbps Luminet Wireless Lite connection as its primary connection for all internet traffic, including VoIP as well as cloud data, storage and email services. Aspital describes the connection as “an artery without which we cannot work.”

He adds: “When the BT Fibre line eventually turns up, it can be our backup line and Luminet will remain our primary connection. It’s not broken, so why switch? Our Luminet service has experienced no problems and has run at a constant speed. It was the last piece of the jigsaw for our move, and I couldn’t be more happy.”

Key Benefits

  • Emergency connectivity becomes primary internet line
  • 100Mbps diverse Luminet Wireless Lite connection installed in two weeks
  • No operational downtime during installation