The new technology will allow the charity to communicate with its partners worldwide.

The RSPB awarded the contact to Newcastle-based Croft Technology plc, an expert in IT networks, which has worked with the charity for more than ten years.

Croft managing director Phil Renton said: “We needed to deliver a stable, cost effective infrastructure that would meet current and future needs and provided resilient links between buildings. The system also needed to allow the RSPB to take full advantage of new technology such as VoIP as well as the latest desktop applications.””

The project involved the removal of old category 3 and 4 cabling and installation of structured category 5e cabling. “”All this in a series of busy offices, based in grade II listed buildings, located in a wildlife reserve that imposed strict regulations on how we could work,”” said Mr Renton.

“”We also had to ensure the whole installation was wildlife proof. The network cabling criss-crosses the site and is the backbone of the whole IT infrastructure. Any failure due to damage of cables would be catastrophic and expensive so 12 core fibre was armoured with steel.””

The installation of more than 10km of new cabling was a major undertaking and six engineers worked mainly at night to minimise disruption.

RSPB project manager Fiona Lynch said: “”This was a very significant project for us. We are a leading global charity and IT is central to what we do and how we engage our partners. The whole project was started and finished on time and has delivered an exceptional new network infrastructure solution.””

The RSPB was founded in 1889 and manages more than 200 nature reserves. It is one of the largest organisations of its kind in the world and raised and managed £63million in voluntary contributions in 2005 alone. “

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