NSW government eyes integrated telecommunications network

More than 70 government agencies have operated their own network finds report

In a bid to reduce telecommunications costs, the NSW government has announced a plan to introduce an integrated telco network over the next 10 years.

The Operational Communications Strategy (PDF), released today by the state government, states that more than 70 NSW government agencies such as police, fire and ambulance have built, owned and operated their own communications networks.

Under the strategy, agency communications resources will move to an integrated model based on a common platform to reduce duplication and improve utilisaiton of existing infrastructure.

The strategy also outlines the use of voice, video and data transmission to replace existing radio networks.

During phase one (2015-2019), government agencies will transition to a new operating model with the NSW Telco Authority taking up the role of managing the integrated portfolio of operational communications.

“In this phase, the portfolio of network assets is rationalised, optimised and integrated to provide better coverage and better level of service to all agencies through the more judicious application of investment,” states the strategy.

“Key strategic assets are earmarked, excess assets are divested and spare capacity is exploited to maximise value. Interoperability is achieved for interstate mission-critical voice services and work begins with agencies defining their high-priority requirements for information and applications on a shared platform.”

During phase two (2017-2022), the foundation will be in place for a transition to broadband services.

“Agencies are provided with access to mission-critical data services allowing them to reexamine the service models they rely on in their interactions with the community. New capabilities are interconnected with existing voice services, providing a pathway for migration from traditional radio-based services to a combined voice and data platform in the metro areas,” the strategy states.

The final phase, 2019-2025, will see the integration of government network assets and services sourced from the telecommunications market.

“Interoperability is achieved for mission-critical data and video services. A shared information platform has been created and agencies are reaping the benefits of mission-critical voice, data and video, using an array of applications, allowing agile service delivery. Savings and better service have been achieved through an integrated approach," states the strategy.

According to the strategy, the outcomes will include:

• Improved coverage, capacity and reliability of shared and interoperable radio service.
• Agencies are equipped to focus on their core business: protecting the public from crime or disasters and delivering essential services.
• Reduced liability and risk associated with ageing asset portfolio.
• Decreased total asset holdings as radio communications assets are rationalised and divested.
• Increased revenue generated from excess capacity.
• Unnecessary capital expense is avoided and operating costs are reduced.

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