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Govt fibre network seeks new suitors

ICON, the Commonwealth's intra-government communications agency will be expanding its operations in the New Year and will be finalising a substantial multiple-vendor Request for Tender (RFT) tomorrow to maintain and expand its network.

ICON, the Commonwealth's intra-government communications agency, will be expanding its operations in 2008 and finalising a substantial multiple-vendor Request for Tender (RFT) tomorrow to maintain and extend its network.

After securing vendors to add a further 25 kilometres to its fibre optic network in November, ICON -- an agency of the Department of Finance and Deregulation -- will be selecting a panel of ICT equipment and service providers to assist in the expansion and maintenance of its network over the next three years.

ICON provides a government-owned fibre optic network around Canberra for communications for more than 65 government departments and agencies.

"ICON has worked closely and successfully with industry for more than a decade to build the network as it is today, and we now want to work even more closely with industry to ensure timely and cost-effective supply of equipment and services," said ICON director Ric Glenister at an industry briefing for the tender.

According to ICON's tender description, the agency will be selecting a panel to help "streamline the procurement process" for future development of the network.

Glenister told the briefing: "Selection for the supplier panel through the tender process doesn't guarantee your equipment or services will be used, what it does mean is that ICON can call on you directly for supply of equipment and services as and when we need you."

Documents accompanying the tender also highlight that ICON reserves the right to procure from outside the panel -- once established -- if they choose, stating that "this panel is not an exclusive arrangement".

Although the agency hasn't outlined any projects for potential panel members, documents relating to the tender state that suppliers will be selected to the panel on their ability to provide and install equipment for major network construction and project management, bulk cable and optical products, and to assist with records management.

Glenister concluded the briefing by saying: "Tell us what you can do and how well you can do it and back it up with facts, and we'll see how you fit in terms of supplying ICON's requirements."