N3 (NHS)

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N3 (NHS) logo.png
Type data and voice
Location UK
Protocols IP
Operator BT
Established 2003
Current status operational
Commercial? No
Funding NHS
Website n3.nhs.uk

N3 is the national broadband network for the English National Health Service (NHS), connecting all NHS locations and 1.3 million employees across England. In 2004, BT was awarded the contract to deliver and manage the IT project on behalf of the NHS.[1] N3 was preceded by NHSnet, becoming N3 in 2006.[2]

N3 provides the foundations to deliver other components of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) such as Choose and Book, the NHS Care Records Service, Electronic Prescriptions and the NHS Picture Archiving and Communications System.[3]

A new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), delivered by multiple suppliers adhering to an agreed set of standards is intended to progressively replace the N3 national healthcare network.[4][5]

Technical details[edit]

N3 runs over a high-speed IP-based virtual private network, it links acute hospitals and GP surgeries in England through 58 points of presence (POPs), and also has a further five POPs in Scotland. N3 is fully resilient at backbone and POP level, enabling 100% core network service availability, the standardised national infrastructure will enable the rollout of 21st Century healthcare IT applications and the next generation of IP-based converged communications solutions.[citation needed]

Compliance with ISO 20000, and ITIL compliant.[citation needed]

A range of N3 hosting providers can provide Information Governance Statement of Compliance (IG SoC) accredited, secure, third party application hosting services. Providers can also act in an advisory capacity to organisations wishing to offer bespoke applications to the NHS.


In March 2007, N3’s Voice Services were launched, these services offer free on-net calls, and potential to reduce fixed-to-mobile costs. [6]

As the N3 Service Provider (N3SP), BT works with NHS Connecting for Health (NHS CFH) to support the delivery of the NPfIT, and develop products and services to capitalise on N3’s state-of-the-art capabilities.[citation needed]

The N3 network enables the user to access NHS Wide Web (nww) prefixed sites, as well as www.[7]


  1. ^ "DoH extends BT N3 deal". The Guardian. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "NhsNet Closure". Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "NHS Connecting for Health - Background to N3". Retrieved 27 February 2009. 
  4. ^ Hall, Mark (9 February 2016). "Communicating HSCN: Why the government must act now". government computing. 
  5. ^ "HSCN Transition". sckey.co.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2017. 
  6. ^ N3 Voice Services
  7. ^ "Policy for the nhs.uk namespace". Health and Social Care Information Centre. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 

External links[edit]