Tasmanian govt kicks off network overhaul

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Tasmanian govt kicks off network overhaul

Prepares for contract expiry in 2015.

The looming end of the Tasmanian government’s core network outsourcing deal has delivered the impetus for a ground-up rethink of the way the state's public sector network infrastructure operates.

Wide area network (WAN) and internet services were first aggregated by the state government in 1997 under the Networking Tasmania (NT) deal, which was subsequently refreshed in 2006.

The 2006 contract arrangement, known as NTII, appointed Telstra as manager of the core IP network, while AARNet, iiNet, TasmaNet and Anittel variously share the provision of internet carriage, network connection services and data centre facilities.

NTII currently covers over 900 fixed connection services to customer sites and 5500 remote access and mobile connection services across Tasmania’s 27,000 core agency staff.

In a discussion paper released to interested providers this week, the Tasmanian government described the May 2015 contract expiry as “an appropriate and timely trigger to commence the implementation of changes”.

In keeping with its ICT strategy, which envisions that by 2015 “all staff will have access to all the information and services that they require in order to perform their role, regardless of their physical location and organisational context within government,” the state’s IT agency TMD is looking adopt a unified and collaborative approach to connectivity.

At present, government networks are divided on an agency-by-agency basis, with custom connections made between each to facilitate information sharing.

TMD is looking to achieve a future state where networks are split laterally according to their security requirements, and access is determined by a secure staff identity management system rather than physical presence within a particular government office building.

A draft timeline would see it commence the procurement stage of its new plan by the middle of next year, and complete the transition to a new network arrangement by May 2016.

But it has also acknowledged that the timeframe from the NBN roll-out in Tasmania, and the availability of different types of NBN services has the potential to affect its schedule.

The draft plan for the refresh, which has the working title NT III, also includes an overhaul of the state’s security policy and a proposed transition to IPv6.

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