Voice over IP provider MyNetFone has won a contract worth up to $20 million dollars to provide VoIP services to the Tasmanian government. The contract has an initial term of three years but may have extensions of up to 10 years, and may be worth up to $20 million. MyNetFone has a ready for service date of 1 January 2013 for the agreement.
As part of the contract MyNetFone will increase its Tasmanian infrastructure, MyNetFone Group CEO Rene Sugo said. "At the moment we've got a network in Tassie which involves some data centre space and some transmission gear to interconnect to Telstra and the other telcos down there, and we also have a network that comes back to the mainland so we can link it to the rest of our network here and globally for voice calls," Sugo said.
As part of the contract the telco has committed to adding capacity and redundancy to its network. "We'll be putting in a second data centre and some additional transmission capacity to make sure there's full diversity in the network," Sugo said.
"We're pretty excited by this deal, because it is our first government deal. As a junior telco, we've stuck to our guns in terms of our products and technology. We've been tempted to do traditional technologies but we've stuck to VoIP and it has taken longer to get a government deal but it's a really good sign for the industry."
Sugo said he hoped other state government will be looking more at VoIP carriage in the wake of the contract. "One of the things that's been frustrating for us is in enterprise and government they use VoIP internally within the organisation but then they still use ISDN as the carriage to the PTSN, so the fact that Tassie's now made the leap and gone 'we're going to cut that ISDN and we're just going to go SIP trunks' is just awesome."
MyNetFone winning the contract was a good sign for telephony competition in Australia, senior Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda said. The appeal of a shift to VoIP from the perspective of government is twofold, Gedda said: Potential cost savings and access to features not available on PSTN services.
"It could be feature driven, not just cost driven — being able to use a softphone on any device and hook into the corporate telephone number, have your extension follow you anywhere, toll-free calling from interstate…"
The Tasmanian Department of Premier and Cabinet awarded the contract on 15 July, also tapping Telstra to provide POTS and ISDN services.
"There is some continuity of POTS and ISDN services. [The Tasmanian government is] using both VoIP and the traditional technology for the time being," Sugo said.