The NSW government has announced the results of its tendering process for delivery of a whole of Government Network Service (GNS).
Rather than a single supplier the tender has been awarded to 11 companies and will operate on a contestable basis with the aim of stimulating competition in the telecommunications industry.
"By encouraging multiple service providers, the government's purchasing power is designed to improve the diversity and competitiveness of services, particularly in rural and regional areas," said Minister for Information Technology Kim Yeadon.
The government believes that the GNS contract will result in sufficient demand, from government, for telecommunications services in regional areas to encourage service providers to establish additional infrastructures in these areas.
Successful tenderers include AAPT, Anite Communications, Flow Communications, OzEmail, Soul Pattinson Telecommunications, Cable & Wireless Optus, Telstra, and Fujitsu Australia.
The government issued a request for tenders for the Government Network Service in June 1998 to cover three main categories of service:n An integrated GNS covering intranet or virtual private Internet services;n Transport services including switched and point to point data links; andn Managed LAN/WAN interface services.
"Until now different agencies have built and serviced independent networks which have not been consistent across government," the minister said.
"While agencies have been able to talk electronically, this move will build on existing networks and improve these links," he said, adding that the government aims to save money by acting as a collective purchaser of services through the GNS contract.
Currently the government spends about $20 million a year on data communications.
However, individual government agencies are not compelled to move to the GNS.