A total of 29 small agencies will gain a new internet gateway service provider when the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) approaches the market for secure internet gateway services as part of the Department of Finance and Deregulation’s Internet Gateway Reduction Program.
PM&C will become the second of the eight appointed lead agencies to approach the market under the program. It issued a Pre-Release Notice on 22 July 2010to alert suppliers to the upcoming publication of a Request for Tender (RFT) for the gateway services. The RFT is due to be released on 30 September 2011.
The gateway reduction program was launched in 2010 to reduce the number of internet gateways used within the Federal Government from a high of 124 to the eight to be managed by the nominated lead agencies.
The lead agencies are:
- the Department of Defence (Defence);
- the Australian Taxation Office (ATO);
- the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR);
- the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS);
- the Department of Human Services (DHS);
- the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF); and
- the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
As Intermedium reported in April, Defence has engaged Verizon to supply gateway services to it and its group of client agencies at a value now approaching $55 million (according to recently published contract data on Austender).
The ATO is understood to have elected to remain with its current supplier of gateway services, Optus. According to Intermedium’s Federal Government Infrastructure Management Outsourcing Report, the agency has a contract covering managed network services contract which will expire in 2013.
DEEWR and DHS both own and operate their own secure gateway infrastructure, and the provision of their requirements is expected to continue to be sourced internally.
The upcoming PM&C tender will include internet connection services. This means the tenderers are likely to be required to be members of the whole-of-government Internet Based Network Connections (IBNC) panel. This panel is mandatory for use by all FMA Act agencies.
Three new panellists were added to the IBNC arrangement on 28 July, bringing the total membership to six, including:
- AAPT; and
- Nextgen Networks.
More suppliers are expected to be added as contract negotiations are progressively finalised by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) within Finance.
RFTs which do not cover the supply of internet connection as part of the secure gateway will not be restricted to suppliers on the IBNC panel.
The PM&C RFT will also cover the provision of:
- Proxy services;
- Content services including antivirus and anti spam management;
- Hosting services;
- Remote access and virtual networks services;
- Security services including firewall management, DDoS protection and intrusion detection;
- Reliability services including bandwidth management; and
- Dedicated agency zone services.
The contract will run for an initial three year period, but has the potential to run for nine years if contract extensions are exercised.
Vendors supplying secure internet gateway services to Federal Government agencies are also required to hold gateway certification from the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). As of 29 July 2011, the following vendors hold this accreditation, albeit for differing security levels:
- Alphawest (an Optus subsidiary);
- Macquarie Telecom;
- Telstra and
- Administrative Appeals Tribunal;
- Department of the Senate;
- Productivity Commission;
- Australian Human Rights Commission;
- Department of the Treasury;
- Office of Parliamentary Counsel;
- Australian Institute of Family Studies;
- Family Court of Australia;
- Office of the Auditing & Assurance Standards Board;
- Australian National Audit Office;
- Federal Court of Australia;
- Office of the Australian Accounting Standards Board;
- Australian Office of Financial Management;
- Federal Magistrates Court of Australia;
- Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman;
- Inspector-General of Taxation;
- Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security;
- Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency;
- Old Parliament House;
- Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General;
- Department of Parliamentary Services;
- National Archives of Australia;
- Office of the Australian Information Commissioner;
- Department of the House of Representatives;
- National Competition Council;
- Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator;
- Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government; and
- National Water Commission
In the tender documents the PM&C indicates that this list may increase or decrease during the course of the contract.