IBM bags $70m NSW wireless deal

IBM has won the contract to build and supply the NSW Department of Education and Training's wireless network for 463 state schools.

IBM has won the contract to build and supply the NSW Department of Education and Training's wireless network for 463 state schools.

The wireless contract follows DET's decision last month to award the contract to former IBM computer maker Lenovo to supply over 200,000 laptops to the state's senior students.

Key providers under the mostly Federal Government-funded $380 million initiative are Microsoft, Lenovo, Adobe and now IBM, which will build the network using Aruba equipment. Other bidders for the network roll-out were NEC, Lenovo and ASI Solutions.

IBM will oversee around 100 contractors for the two-stage implementation, which is expected to be complete by February 2010, according to NSW Minister for Education, Verity Firth.

"The 293 government schools that received funding for laptops in round one of the Rudd Government's National Secondary School Computer Fund Program will be the first to receive the wireless network," Firth said in a statement. "By the end of July 2009, these schools will have wireless networks to support the roll-out of laptops to Year 9 students. The remaining 170 schools will receive their wireless network over the remainder of Term 3."

The Lenovo laptops, currently being made, are due for delivery sometime between July and October this year, according to Firth. The laptops will be equipped with a Microsoft XP operating system, Microsoft Office and a range of Adobe's creative software.

DET chief information officer Stephen Wilson told ZDNet.com.au the department would hire an additional 471 staff to provide support to students when the laptops arrive.