Telstra will begin construction of the new AU$457.3 million Government Wireless Network for the state of Queensland, after beating out Broadcast Australia and a consortium of CSC, Harris Corporation, and Brookfield Financial to the contract.
Telstra won the deal close to a year after the Queensland government under Premier Campbell Newman announced that it was seeking a new digital radio voice and narrowband data network for use by Queensland public safety agencies ahead of the G20 Leaders Summit in 2014 and the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
The Queensland government chief information office estimated last year that the replacement network will cost AU$567 million over seven years, with AU$554 million set aside to build the network towers and deploy handsets.
The price has come in much lower than originally projected, however, with the Queensland government today stating that the project will cost AU$457.3 million over 15 years.
The cost to maintain and operate the network has been estimated at AU$70 million per year.
Telstra will be responsible for designing, building, operating, and maintaining the network. The Queensland government has already allocated AU$57.4 million in the current budget to begin working on the project later this year.
Newman said that the network will initially be rolled out to Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Cairns in preparation for the G20 summit.
"The G20 meetings require a secure communications network to host state and Commonwealth agencies and international security forces," Newman said in a statement.
"It will then be rolled out to the rest of the South-East in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. There's also the potential to eventually extend the system to cover the rest of the state."
Police Minister Jack Dempsey indicated that the new network would improve communication between emergency responders in disaster situations.
"For police, fire, and ambulance officers in the GWN service areas, there will be clearer radio communication and better coverage at key public locations," Dempsey said.
"It's designed to reduce emergency response times by providing seamless interconnectivity between the agencies."
Telstra will work on the project with network vendor Motorola Solutions.