'

Optus signs AU$115m contract with DIBP

Optus will provide managed IT and telco services to the Australian immigration department for the next three years.

Optus has announced that it has signed a three-year contract worth AU$115 million to provide end-to-end telecommunications and managed IT services to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

The agreement, announced on Thursday afternoon, will see Optus Business amalgamate the telco services of DIBP, which was formerly two departments -- the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The telco will provide support across almost 15,000 IP handsets, over 1,000 wireless access points, and close to 1,000 LAN switches, along with CCTV and radio. Optus will make use of its multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) carriage network, satellite connectivity, and mobile network to deliver services to around 200 sites in Australia.

"Optus will be providing design and implementation support as the department optimises their telecommunications infrastructure, datacentres, telephony platforms, and their ICT needs moving forward," said John Paitaridis, MD of Optus Business.

DIBP CIO Randall Brugeaud said the deal with Optus would enhance the department's ability to use innovative solutions for border protection.

"This agreement with Optus provides dynamic, secure infrastructure to seamlessly integrate our telecommunications environment and support our future vision for the organisation. We are looking forward to working with Optus as we pursue our strategic objectives to promote responsive migration, advance trade and revenue, and lead border innovation," Brugeaud said.

DIBP has previously come under fire for its poor IT security track record; in February last year, the department accidentally published the details of almost 10,000 asylum seekers, and it accidentally emailed the passport numbers, dates of birth, and visa information of world leaders attending last year's G20 summit in Brisbane -- including those of US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin -- to a member of the Asian Cup Local Organising Committee.

Earlier on Thursday, Optus claimed that its mobile network now covers 100 percent of Australia thanks to the launch of its SatSleeve satellite service.

Satellite communications company Thuraya is supplying the SatSleeve+ and SatSleeve Hotspot to Optus customers, providing mobile services all over Australia as long as the customer is within line of sight of the satellite.

In July, the Australian Department of Defence extended its contract with Optus through to 2020 for use of their shared C1 satellite.

The Department of Defence and Optus had initially collaborated to fund, build, and launch the C1 satellite in 2003, with Optus making use of the Ku-band and Defence making use of its Ka-band, UHF, and X-band frequencies for coverage across APAC.

Although Optus had briefly considered selling off its satellite division in 2013, it then extended the satellite's services to 2018 by signing a AU$19.5 million contract renewal with Defence in 2014.

Optus has not disclosed the value of its 2020 satellite contract with Defence.