A partnership between Vodafone-owned Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW) and Virgin Media Business has been shortlisted for a national networking contract worth up to £325 million from the Scottish Government.

Under the Scottish Government's flagship Scotland Wide Area Network (SWAN) programme it is expected that the six year contract will be worth in the region of £100 million and £325 million.

The CWW-led bid team will support the SWAN programme's aims to "enable a better Scotland through better digital access, better working and better public services".

SWAN is designed to deliver a single, public sector network (PSN) for information sharing and collaboration available to all Scottish public service organisations. The programme is intended to deliver both cost and performance advantages.

The contract is expected to be awarded in October, with a service "go live" date in April 2014.

Brian Woodford, managing director for the public sector at CWW, said, "By working with Virgin Media Business on our combined bid approach we believe we will deliver a solution that is greater than the sum of its parts, and that will exceed the Scottish Government's ambitions by building on our already well-established investment in Scotland."Virgin already has an extensive cable network and a growing fibre network in Scotland, and is aiming to run the likes of BT closer for government contracts after a number of local authority wins south of the border.

The SWAN initiative stemmed from the McClelland Review of Scottish Public Sector ICT Infrastructure, which was released last summer, and takes forward recommendations on collaborative procurement, aggregation of network demand and use of common standards.