HIC upgrades comms and call centres

Faced with year 2000 compliant issues, the Health Insurance Commission (HIC) has upgraded its call centre and office communication operations in a multimillion dollar nationwide project with Alcatel.

Due for completion sometime after Easter, the project has not only solved Y2K problems faced by the organisation but has also accommodated new premises and future technology projects such as Web integration, remote users and integrated video, voice and data services.

In the deal, Alcatel is supplying HIC with 4400 PABX technology to carry voice and data traffic between the organisation's offices nationwide and seven call centres.

The new technology will be connected to HIC's existing ATM backbone and includes Alcatel's call centre solution, call centre Supervisor Terminals, networked extension and digital handsets.

According to Paul Robinson, HIC's manager telecommunications and network services, Alcatel was selected for the project through a tender process involving Telstra, Nortel, Ericsson and Fujitsu.

Robinson said the Alcatel solution replaces a 10-year Fujitsu solution which was "getting a bit long in the tooth", but still performing well.

According to Robinson, Alcatel's solution is "at least one generation ahead" of other solutions and provides HIC with the ability to integrate existing technology with ATM, frame relay, ISDN and IP networks as well as future technology which may develop over the next 10 years.

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