Eleven companies rather than a single supplier are the winners in the NSW government's tendering process for delivery of a whole of Government Network Service (GNS).
Successful tenderers include AAPT, Anite Communications, Flow Communications, OzEmail, Soul Pattinson Telecommunications, Cable & Wireless Optus, Telstra Corporation, and Fujitsu Australia.
The contract 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 Kim Yeadon, minister for information technology in the NSW government.
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 infrastructure in these areas.
The request for tenders for the Government Network Service were issued in June 1998.
The tender included three main categories of service:
- an integrated GNS covering intranet or virtual private internet services;- transport services including switched and point to point data links and- managed LAN/WAN interface services.
"Until now different agencies have built and serviced independent networks which have not been consistent across Government. While agencies have been able to talk electronically, this move will build on existing networks and improve these links," Yeadon 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 around $20m a year on data communications. Individual Government agencies will not be compelled to move to the GNS.