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Defence to tender for terrestrial communications bundle

by Annabelle Milosavljevic •
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Defence has announced its intentions to commence the ICT component of its Strategic Reform Program (SRP) with the ‘terrestrial communications bundle’.  In so doing, it has been suggested by ITNews, that the three incumbent terrestrial communications providers, Telstra, Verizon and Optus, have been made aware there will be only one telecommunications supplier as part of the move to standardise Defence’s terrestrial telephony.

Optus and Telstra were the two largest suppliers of telco services to the Federal Government in 2008-09, according to Intermedium’s Telecommunications Services Report 2008-09.

According to AusTender, the tender will be released 22 April 2010.  

An industry briefing notice published on 6 April indicates that the terrestrial communications procurement process is intended to be the foundation of a broader program of work to upgrade both the DTCN and other elements of the Defence ICT infrastructure.  This is required ‘to ensure leading edge ICT support continues to be provided in support of war fighter and corporate objectives’.

In support of its terrestrial Communications requirements, Defence’s Joint Project (JP) 2047, Phase 3 has been incorporated in the Terrestrial Communications bundle and is expected to:

  • ‘Improve the fixed network in Australia; and
  • Enable improved integration of the fixed network with satellite and tactical networks, providing an integrated end-to-end internet protocol (IP) based network service to all Defence users.’

A part of the Defence Capability Plan 2009Joint Project (JP) 2047 Phase 3 Wide Area Communications Network Replacement aims to enhance Defence’s information network to enable Defence to improve the preparation for and conduct of military operations and improve the management of Defence business.

Defence rates the acquisition cost of JP 2047 at Level 3 Moderate , towards the upper end of $100-500 million threshold with an initial operating capacity targeted from 2012-2014.

Intermedium’s analysis of total combined contracts for Telecommunications Equipment and Services at Defence and DMO (Figure 1) shows that year on year Telstra is the clear market leader and in 2008-09 picked up a large managed services contract that extends to 2014.  Verizon won only a very small portion of business in 2008-09 while Optus fared slightly better with a significant contract for communications services.

The SRP is intended to create ‘the efficient and accountable Defence organisation required to deliver and sustain Force 2030 within the funding envelope agreed by Government’.

Within the SRP, the Chief Information Officer Group (CIOG) in Defence has developed an ICT Sourcing Strategy that seeks to:

  • move to fewer and ‘deeper’ vendor relationships, with longer-term contracts;
  • collaborate with industry to drive change;
  • focus CIOG teams on core competencies; and
  • Consolidate and re-align ICT sourcing into focussed technology ‘bundles’.

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  • Federal
  • Telecommunications
  • Defence
  • Defence Capability Plan
  • RFT
  • Terrestrial Communications