/ Customer Stories

Operation Brock Manston /

We’re proud to be working with Department of Transport and Stonehill Park.

Think Connect has worked as IT partner for this complex and multi-faceted site that became the focus for so much attention during first Brexit preparations, and later as a major regional Covid test centre. 

A Lorry Park Like No Other 

In January 2019 the former Manston International Airport site was selected by the Department of Transport as a holding centre for up to 4,000 lorries, as part of the UK governments no-deal Brexit contingency planning.   

The site itself is located at the highest point in Thanet, covering an area of some 600 acres and hosts a 2.7km runway with many supporting buildings and offices. 

Approached as regional connectivity specialists, we were duly engaged to deliver high-speed, secure and resilient connectivity to the site’s critical IT and CCTV assets, as well as delivering fast internet access to support the site’s operation and the work of teams from the specialist companies and government departments based there. 

Given the scale of the site, and short delivery timeframes, wireless technologies were selected to provide 1Gbps of point-to-point connectivity to critical buildings across the site.  To deliver the high availability and business critical connectivity requirements, we deployed 60Ghz wireless backhaul links with 5Ghz backup aerials with superfast internet and Layer 2 connectivity back to datacentre infrastructure through an ethernet fibre leased line.  Furthermore, we were also commissioned to provide fixed CAT6 cabling within the many buildings as well as providing critical 24/7×365 support services.   

As a point of pride, the project was architected and delivered within 4 weeks. 

Adapting To A Change Of Use During The Pandemic 

In December 2020 in the peak of the Covid pandemic the site was made fully operational for the first time due the French government making a sudden decision to close its borders as well as later being a Covid-19 cross border testing facility.   

With some 4,000 trucks parked on the site and with limited mobile data available, we were asked to at-pace expand the solution to provide wireless connectivity across the entire 2.7 km runway as well as delivering connectivity to some remote portacabins.   

Over an intense 2-week period Think Connect deployed some 80 Ubiquiti wireless mesh access points to new custom scaffold towers, designed to help minimize signal interference.  Working alongside a specialist electrical contractor, engaged to provide power from existing lighting generators, the resulting solution delivered some 615,000 m2 of continuous WIFI and some very happy truckers. 

Today: A Post Brexit and Pandemic Site Is Again Changing 

During July 2021, the site has been passed to its new owners who are reviving Manston to be a successful and profitable airfreight hub of national significance.  Today, we engaged to provide ongoing 24/7 support to ensure the continued availability of the sites CCTV operation.