Water Corp won't run from Telstra

Western Australia's Water Corporation says it's not planning to sever Telstra as its telecommunications provider, despite giving Optus subsidiary Alphawest the nod for a state-wide IP telephony fitout.The Corporation, responsible for providing water to Western Australians, will soon deploy IP telephony to 41 sites around the state, and 2,800 users.

Western Australia's Water Corporation says it's not planning to sever Telstra as its telecommunications provider, despite giving Optus subsidiary Alphawest the nod for a state-wide IP telephony fitout.

The Corporation, responsible for providing water to Western Australians, will soon deploy IP telephony to 41 sites around the state, and 2,800 users.

The rollout will see voicemail, calendar and e-mail integration all delivered with Cisco handsets.

The entire project would take two to three years to complete, according to the Corporation's manager of information services, Dave Currell.

A change in telecommunications provider, however, is not yet on the cards.

"[Our] telecoms service provider is Telstra.

"This will not change," Currell said.

The Corporation is mid-way through a three year deal with Telstra for fixed, mobile and data services. Currell declined to reveal the value of the contract.

Optus crowed last year that its acquisition of Alphawest would strengthen the telco's positioning as an integrated ICT provider. Telstra did similar when it acquired services giants Kaz in 2004.

Despite the deal with Alphawest as services integrator, Currell said he saw no benefits to be gained in changing from Telstra to Optus.

"Over time that could change...but from my perspective, that whole [telecoms] contract is different to IP telephony."

Once the rollout to all sites is complete, support will eventually revert to incumbent infrastructure services company CSC.

The rollout follows Alphawest's pilot fitout of two 'greenfield' project offices this year.

This delivered basic IP telephony, without voicemail or e-mail and calendar integration, to 110 Corporation staff.

Currell said the move to IP telephony was due to a number of Corporation PABXs around the state becoming obsolete.

Another catalyst was the Corporation's telephone excellence program, which aims to deliver improved services to customers and staff.

IP telephony would allow the corporation to measure the quality of telephone service more accurately, said Currell, such as the number of times a phone rung before it was answered.

Alphawest won a selective tender in November to provide implementation services for the Corporation's IP telephony project.

The Corporation and Alphawest declined to disclose the value of the contract.