Defence has moved a step closer to a long-planned replacement of its wide area network expected to cost up to half a billion dollars.
The Minister for Defence Stephen Smith late Tuesday granted first-pass approval for the WAN project, known as Joint Project 2047 Phase 3.
First-pass approval was the first of two stages in which the Government was presented a series of options for a project prior to allocating budget or final approval.
A final decision on the project was expected some time in the 2011-12 financial year.
The project was one of several expedited by Defence in March of last year.
It incorporated a bid to consolidate Defence's fixed lined telecommunications suppliers from three to one.
Defence wanted to run a single telecommunications network that would accommodate its war fighting and administrative/corporate requirements.
The Defence telecommunications network included 330 sites in Australia supporting some 100,000 users in Australia and overseas.
Project JP2047 comprised several phases incorporating network studies and modernisation work that was in varying stages of completion.