However, the paperwork is unlikely to be finalised until after the March 18 State election, and the ISP continues to work under the terms of its current contract, which is said to be worth around AU$2 million per year.
An original field of around seven applicants has been reduced to just three -- Telstra, Adam Internet and Internode -- in an evaluation process that has already taken more than 18 months.
ICT Council for SA chairman David Raffen said that the protracted process is costly both for the companies involved and for the government. ISP prices have tumbled over the past year and services have changed dramatically with the introduction of ADSL2+ services over much of metropolitan Adelaide.
"In an industry that moves at such a pace, it's not just the technology that can change, the companies themselves can change over the course of a year or two," Raffen said.
"Because the selection process has taken so long, you have to question whether you are getting the best of what's available."
Sources close to the agencies have reported previous data pricing at 6-10 cents per MB, with the new rates closer to 1 or 2 cents. This long drawn-out process has potentially cost the South Australian government tens of thousands of dollars a month, at its current download rate of around 3 TB a month.
"It is good, however, to see that the government has seen fit to support a local company, which can only be positive for the state and the industry," Raffen said.
With none of the applicants or outsourcing agency FutureICT willing to talk about the tender process, it's hard to get a clear view of what's happening but it seems that Internode would be the only South Australian company so far to win any of the AU$1 billion business on offer across the dozen or so state government contracts.
Other winners of the FutureICT contracts -- as reported by ZDNet Australia last week -- are:
- Mainframe contract to remain with EDS until 2007
- PCs to HP, Dell and IPEX
- Laptops to Dell and Acer
- File servers to HP
- Managed network services for both core services and agencies to Queensland firm Dimension Data
- PABX maintenance support to NEC
- Messaging to Telstra
- Distributed computing support services to Volante