The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) will approach the market in February 2013 to outsource the majority of its telecommunications needs to an external provider, in a deal that is likely to be worth in excess of $20 million.
According to the pre-release notice, required telecommunications services will include wide area network connectivity, inbound and outbound calls, services and management (for devices), voice infrastructure (PABX and similar devices), hardware, telephonists, satellite phones and maintenance.
A spokesperson for DAFF said that the Department’s current expenditure on the scope of telecommunications services that will be covered by the approach to market exceeds $5 million.
This means that if the resulting contract or contracts are signed for a four or five year term, they are likely to be worth between $20 million and $25 million.
Previously, DAFF’s most significant telecommunications relationship was with AAPT, which has provided services to the Department since July 2007. The contract, which is due to expire in June 2013, is currently worth $12.9 million over six years, or an average of just over $2 million per annum.
This suggests that the current contract covers a less comprehensive range of services than will be covered under the upcoming request for tender.
DAFF plans to release a single request for proposals (RFP) that covers all of its telecommunications services requirements, but says that it could potentially end up signing more than one contract with multiple vendors to cover the scope of works.
“The outcome (including the number of contracts awarded) will be determined by the arrangements that are expected to offer the Department the best value for money,” said the spokesperson.
Many of the services requested fall under the Australian Government Information Management Office’s (AGIMO) mandatory telecommunications procurement panels, which include the Internet Based Network Connection Services Panel (IBNC), Telecommunications Management (TMAN) Panel and the Telecommunications Commodities, Carriage and Associated Services (Mobile) Panel.
DAFF’s current provider AAPT is a member of the IBNC panel, but not the mobile or TMAN panels.
A DAFF spokesperson told Intermedium that the request for proposal will be published via AusTender rather than being submitted directly to panellists as the scope of the required services extends beyond the Whole of Government panels.
The pre-release notice indicates that the DAFF will contact members of the AGIMO Telecommunications Panels with further information on scope, process, rules and timeframe.
The telecommunications services requested in the tender will not include the provision of internet gateway services, which DAFF contracted to Macquarie Telecom in October 2012 for five years. DAFF signed the deal for itself and 11 other agencies in its capacity as one of eight lead agencies in the Australian Government’s Internet Gateway Reduction Program. The program aims to improve efficiency and minimise the risk of cyber attacks by introducing shared internet gateway services that will reduce the number of gateways from 124 to eight.