THE ACT government has started contract negotiations with TransACT as the preferred tenderer to deliver voice services for its government-wide communications revamp, which the territory hopes will substantially slash its $15 million annual communications bill.
The announcement of the preferred tenderers for its voice, mobile and internet services brings to a close an overall telecommunications requirements specification and tender process that began some two years ago.
The Department of Treasury had earlier announced it had selected Logical Networks and Diverse Data Communications to build the private fibre network that will provide data to 90 percent of ACT government staff.
The network will be data-only in the short term, but the ACT could begin using it for voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephony within the next three to four years.
The government issued a seven-part request for a proposal covering all of its communications and data service requirements in January.
TransACT is partly owned by the Territory. It’s selection was the outcome of a Request for Tender (RFT) conducted by InTACT, the ACT government’s insourced IT service provider.
The Government expects the contract, worth around $4.5 million per year, to save it $3.5m per year on current voice services costs once implemented by around the end of 2005, and to cover some 12,000 telephone ends across the Territory.
It says voice services contract will include all government fixed phones, facsimile services and call centre functionality. TransACT was selected from a strong field and will be delivering a Voice Over IP (VoIP) solution in association with Dimension Data and Cisco. The solution will complement the optical fibre data network that the Territory is currently implementing.
InTACT project director Converged Networks Richard Hart says the contract is for a converged network delivering IP telephony to all of the ACT Government’s instrumentalities, which includes the full range of services you would find in both a large City Council and a small State Government.
He says as soon as contract negotiations with TransACT are complete the Government will begin work on proof of concept and a pilot.
“What we’ve done is over a period of several years moved to analyze our telecommunications requirements, probably in a way unprecedented for the Territory, and go to the market in such a way that we can give the widest range of organizations the opportunity to bid for pieces of that work, while at the same time keeping a strategic focus in mind,” Hart says.
The outcome will bring to an end a very long and successful association with Telstra who have delivered voice services to ACT government agencies for over a decade.
“Telstra was the incumbent and over some period of time they will be transitioned out, but we’ve received a very high level of service from Telstra in the past and the fact that another firm won the bid is a reflection of the general quality of the tender responses from both of those companies – they were both very high quality. So Transact was the preferred tenderer in a very strong field. It’s a good time to be going to the market at the moment.”
Andrew Weeks, acting Under Treasurer, says he was pleased that TransACT, which is partially owned by the Territory, was able to compete successfully with other carriers and vendors to win the contract.
“This outcome represents a win for the Territory on three fronts: it represents a considerable saving over current costs; it delivers a state of the art voice solution for the ACT Government; and it should see the expansion of TransACT’s capability to deliver services to other business customers,” he says.
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