Optus gets nod for $60m Tax Office network contract

Network service bundling 18 months in the making

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has entered final negotiations with carrier Optus for a new managed network services contract worth up to $60.5 million a year.

Managed network services (MNS) is one of three ICT outsourced service bundles the ATO is renegotiating as part of its change program. The others being end user computing and centralised computing.

The MNS bundle includes the provision of data and voice carriage services, telephony services, WAN and LAN services, videoconferencing, and call centre infrastructure and services.

The ATO spends about $60.5 million a year on these services.

While Optus has been selected to proceed to the final stage of contract negotiations, according to the ATO, if a “satisfactory outcome” in this phase of the process is not reached, it has the right to re-introduce the shortlisted MNS respondents back into the procurement process.

ATO second commissioner David Butler said contract negotiations should be complete “in the coming weeks” and more information on the contract will be provided then.

The tax office’s objective is to achieve a “value for money, business focussed outcome” from its MNS contracts.

The ATO decided to bundle its network services in December 2007 and released an expression of interest in January 2008. Seven responses were received.

In March 2008 four companies – Dimension Data, Computer Sciences Corporation, Optus and Telstra – were selected to proceed to the request for tender stage.

Dimension Data and Optus were then shortlisted in December to enter into contract negotiations.

Meanwhile, the end-user computing bundle request for tender closed May 11, 2009 and a contract is expected to be in place by March 2010.

For its centralised computing the ATO will release the request for tender in July 2009 with a contract expected to be in place by mid-2010.

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Tags unified communicationsoutsourcingNetworkingATOoptus

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