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Project background...

The UK currently has one of the most advanced digital infrastructures in the world, with over 45 million people using the Internet on a daily basis.

It is of critical importance to both the economy and our society to ensure that the UK remains at the leading edge of digital technology. 

To tackle the identified research needs, transformational work is required to take advantage of fundamental research in programmable and virtualised network functions which will allow new and unpredicted services to be supported without the need to make costly infrastructure changes at the physical level.


The nodes of the network will be “autonomic”, with a capability to perceive state and environment, understand and predict behaviour, and react to disruptions and opportunities autonomously.

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The proposed innovations are necessitated by imminent and ongoing changes to ICT services, and the value chains in which they sit. In particular, there is continued growth in new services and applications, with tens of billions of devices, sensors, vehicles and people to become interconnected over the next 10 to 15 years. As a consequence, this will result in new and demanding uses of the infrastructure.
Traditionally, deployment of new services has involved reinvestment in infrastructure, extensive pre-testing, and people-intensive service support in operation, requiring several hundred people to deliver. Future services will change ever more rapidly –and unpredictably –and a fundamental change to the economic model for infrastructure development is required. BT needs to drastically reduce the time it takes for innovative new services to be launched, improve the agility and responsiveness of network infrastructure to changing customer requirements and significant events e.g. disasters. By enabling this agility, NG-CDI aims to reduce BT’s operational and development costs at the same time as providing a framework to spin out innovation in days rather than years. Re-investment in the core infrastructure will be contained; rebalancing this resource will not only provide a huge capital and operational cost saving, but even greater growth potential since the cost of innovation and experimentation will be reduced, and its speed increased.

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An ambitious programme geared to create a radically new architecture for the UK’s internet and telecommunications infrastructure

Our Vision & Objectives...

NG-CDI’s ambition is to develop a transformational approach to managing the next generation of digital infrastructure for the UK. This requires foundational research in a diverse range of areas from networking and communications, statistics, industrial automation and organisational behaviour. The research vision of NG-CDI is being addressed through the pursuit of three interdependent objectives: 

A completely new architecture for digital infrastructures, composed of highly dynamic network functions based on a micro-NFV approach that are collectively able to adapt to the real-time requirements of future digital services.


Creating a new autonomic framework for digital infrastructure to equip the nodes of the infrastructure network with the ability to understand their state, detect and diagnose disruptions to service, and take autonomous actions.


Implementing approaches for the successful integration of these technologies within the business functions with an aim to improve service assurance and organisational value.

The ultimate goal is to establish an agile and reliable network, both in terms of network actions and the availability of resources, against a backdrop of both predictable dynamicity and unpredictable changes.

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