CSIRO issues telco tender

Australia's peak scientific research body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has put its entire telecommunications infrastructure out to tender.

Australia's peak scientific research body, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has put its entire telecommunications infrastructure out to tender.

The successful applicant would need to maintain CSIRO's existing data, voice and mobile services or migrate them to new platforms, according to the tender documents released today.

CSIRO has around 77 sites and almost all are connected using high-speed fibre-optic links from AARNET, which provide data, voice and video connectivity. Wide-area network (WAN) traffic had been increasing due to increasing use of video-conferencing and centralised email and file servers.

The successful applicant would need to cater for CSIRO's "short notice, high flexibility" planning cycle by providing "more than traditionally adequate bandwidth".

Telstra currently provides CSIRO's PSTN and ISDN voice connections. While the organisation is in the process of upgrading its PABX systems to Cisco Unified Communications systems, it expects these legacy voice connections to remain "in the short to medium term".

CSIRO has approximately 3200 mobile phones, around 900 of which are BlackBerry devices, also provided by Telstra. Staff use Telstra mobile wireless data cards for internet and virtual private network (VPN) connectivity back to the office.

In addition, CSIRO has a large number of telemetry services including 270 circuit-switched data lines; devices which use SMS or low-bandwidth mobile data technologies and a growing number of applications using the Telstra Next G network to transmit live video and data streams.

The tender closes on 21 December 2009 and CSIRO hopes to sign an agreement with the successful bidder by March 2010.