The Federal Government has released a request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) to provide an education broadband backbone network worth $70 million.
According to the request for EOI released by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), the proposed $80 million Vocational Education Broadband Network (VEN) is split in two parts.
“DEEWR invites EOIs from interested organisations to establish and operate the VBN for an initial period of three years,” the Government EOI stated. “A VBN will leverage existing infrastructure as far as possible, provide interconnections between existing networks serving TAFE institutions in each state and territory and be able to be accessed by non-TAFE registered training organisations.”
Cities to be linked include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin. Funding for the proposal was first announced in April 2009 as part of the Government’s response to the 2020 Summit.
According to the EOI, there will be five shortlisted applicants, who will be invited to help shape the subsequent Request for Tender (RFT) and apply for it. The initial contract may also be extended by the Federal Government.
The network will be able to provide at least 1Gbps between a minimum of three State or Territory capitals and 100Mbps on other identified links. A bidder will need to be able to do the following:
- Provide high-capacity connectivity across Australia, with at least one point-of-presence (PoP) in each state and territory
- In each state and territory, provide a peering connection between the VBN PoP and a designated PoP for the whole of government or other government network operating in that state or territory
- Provide sufficient capacity to enable bandwidth-intensive applications, such as near-high definition video conferencing
- Be capable of being upgraded readily and at reasonable cost
- Providing peering links to non-training organisations, and online resource providers of interest to TAFE institutions, routed in ways that do not incur additional charges
- Provide redundancy mechanisms, including alternative routes between major PoPs to limit the loss of connectivity between major PoPs in the event of a single link failure
The deadline for lodging responses is April 6. The contract is set to take place by October 2010.