Telstra has won a five-year, $62.5 million contract to provide a new managed IP data network, Wide Area Network (WAN)and managed network security to AGL Energy.
The IP data network will become the backbone of the contract and the new WAN, which will replace AGL’s three incumbent data networks, will connect to Telstra’s Next G network. It is expected to increase the energy company’s capacity between its 12 mains sites by four to 10 times and will simultaneously support data, voice and video communications.
"We are moving AGL to a Layer 3 IP MPLS [multi-protocol label switching] network core," Telstra Enterprise and government executive director of network product sales, John Paitaridis, said. "At the moment, it’s in various states. Into that core we’ll connect AGL’s retail sites, their standard sites and premium sites as well as their remote users."
AGL will also integrate Polycom’s HD video conferencing equipment to enable face-to-face communications that it hopes will reduce the time staff spend traveling.
Telstra and AGL have had a long standing relationship — in 2003 AGL ditched Optus and signed up with Telstra for a mobile services contract worth $35 million.
"We have been working with AGL for a long time and this deal extends that relationship for five years,” Paitaridis said. “It’s much more of a strategic relationship, from a more transactional base to genuine managed services.”
Telstra is also providing helpdesk services to the energy company, as well as security services such as antivirus, anti-spam, denial of service, firewall and intrusion detection and protection.
"As online becomes more prevalent for energy companies like AGL, we are getting a lot of interest in security gateways. In this case we are the gateway — everything comes to us before it goes into the AGL environment."
The new agreement is hoped to increase productivity, provide greater flexibility and mitigate risks for AGL, according to chief information officer, Owen Coppage.
“Central to the service is enhanced network security to help AGL remain ahead of the game in meeting our security commitments that are becoming increasingly important as more customers manage their services online,” he said in a statement.
“Business continuity and disaster planning are critical within this sector so we’ve built in additional data links across all of AGL’s major sites that will allow us to maintain a consistency of service for AGL’s customers in the event of a problem”
AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio and has Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer base. Its power generation portfolio includes base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation and renewable sources such as hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass.
Telstra will provide:
- A scalable and flexible WAN connected to the Telstra Next IP network that will allow sites to be quickly added or removed and capacity up-scaled or downscaled as required.
- Telstra Managed Network Security to identify and manage existing and new security threats before they enter the AGL network.
- Increased call centre capacity and service through the new WAN that will also enable customers to be transferred across AGL call centres.
- Upgraded video-conferencing equipment to high definition screens.
- Mobile voice and data services across AGL’s workforce including mobile handsets, wireless broadband services and BlackBerry devices.