The Tasmanian government has retained its incumbent data networking and Internet services supplier Telstra for at least another three years, in a AU$30 million whole of government telecommunications deal signed last week.
Telstra beat six other un-named telcos to win the contract, which was disclosed this week by the state's contracts reporting system. Baby carrier and mobile application service provider BBW Telecom also picked up a small portion of the work, valued at just AU$300,000.
The state government's decision to stick with Telstra follows some 11 months of market evaluation by TMD, a division of Tasmania's Department of Premier and Cabinet that manages whole of government technology projects for the state. The contract was initially slated to be awarded last October.
Telstra had previously provided the services to the state under a set of arrangements known collectively as "Networking Tasmania". However, those contracts expired this February. The new deal is known as "Networking Tasmania II". It lasts until at least June 2010, although Tasmania can extend the new arrangements until June 2013.
The whole of government deal includes services for all government departments, as well as some statutory authorities, councils, schools and hospitals. It covers data networking and Internet services and associated technologies such as messaging (eg e-mail), antivirus and directory services.
"Networking Tasmania customers currently purchase 582 permanent services to 500 sites, 1,330 non-permanent services (Internet virtual private network or dial-up) and more than 200 value-added services," the state said in tender documents released back in April 2006.
The Tasmanian government's vision for Networking Tasmania II is for Telstra to implement a new telecommunications data network founded on a separate Internet Protocol-based (IP) network for each government department or external agency, with additional links to join them together.
The proposal is consistent with a trend in corporate communications, which is gradually seeing voice, data and video services brought onto a single organisation-wide IP network.
While the state's primary needs from the Networking Tasmania II deal are data networking and Internet services, it signalled in 2006 that it would also consider proposals from telcos for the supply of fixed-voice services if they integrated well with the data services, and the government's existing voice services.
"Note that the government has non-exclusive arrangements in place for the supply of fixed-voice services and is not planning to replace the bulk of these at this time," the state said in the April 2006 tender documents.
TMD did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Also last week, Victoria awarded a whole of government Internet services deal. Telstra, however, missed out on the work, which was awarded in a panel contract to Pacific Internet, Optus, Eftel and Netspace.