Staff within the Tasmanian Government’s lead ICT agency, TMD, will be the first to try out the State’s brand new telephony solution and work through its glitches ahead of a whole-of-government roll-out.
Under the guise of the Modern Communications Project, Tasmania’s existing analogue telephone network will be replaced with a VOIP solution based on the Cisco Managed Voice platform and supplied by Anittel under a five year, $16.8 million contract.
The telecommunications overhaul has also seen MyNetFone and Telstra appointed as whole-of-government suppliers for voice carriage; and POTS, ISDN and inbound calls respectively. Both vendors have signed three-year, $6 million deals with the Tasmanian Government.
But the major Tasmanian project may have hit one or two obstacles already.
The latest communiqué (PDF) outlining the State ICT Board’s March meeting makes reference to a number of issues raised by a recent review of the project’s implementation. Although the communiqué doesn’t specify what the issues are it does claim that they are being “responded to effectively by both the chosen service and the agency leading the implementation (TMD, Department of Premier and Cabinet)”.
It also acknowledges that “given the government’s broad and varied functional needs, migration to IP-based voice services at a whole of government level was a significant and highly complex project”.
For the past 20 years the Tasmanian public service has relied on roughly 20,000 Telstra-supplied Spectrum analogue phone services managed by TMD, but was forced to re-think this telephony fleet when Telstra withdrew the product from the market.
“This overarching program of TMD projects is structured and resourced to help achieve a smooth transition to Government’s new voice model while maintaining TMD as a viable and effective service provider,” says the Modern Communications project page.
Even though most of the contracting for the telephony replacement is now finalised, the project is still creating business opportunities for proactive vendors.
TMD has very recently approached the market to set up a non-mandatory panel of active networking equipment suppliers, which will offer switches, routers and associated software to Tasmanian agencies.
“The reason for the RFT is that several Government agencies wish to upgrade local network infrastructure to facilitate the roll-out of a whole-of-government voice over internet protocol (VOIP) telephone solution over the next two years, as well as to replace ageing network equipment,” says the tender docs.
“Each Department is responsible for providing a network that will support the new telephone services, including delivering the full functionality of the Cisco phones and delivering voice traffic on the network with the appropriate network configuration.
“In many instances, new active networking equipment needs to be rolled out to support the telephone solution,” they further explain.
It is estimated that 14,435 telephone ports are currently in use across the Tasmanian Government.
Tenders close on 7 May 2013.
Once the TMD trial of the new phone infrastructure is complete it is expected that the full government-wide implementation of the new solution and replacement handsets will take two years.
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