Preferred supplier for KAREN network selected

Identity of bidder won't be revealed until after Budget day

A preferred supplier has been identified for the international network supply contract for the KAREN research network.

Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand (REANNZ) had put the contract out to tender late last year. It was seeking"high capacity, high speed, uncontested and transparent" connectivity for KAREN.

REANNZ’s current international network contract, provided by Verizon through the Southern Cross Cable, expired on March 23, 2010.

REANNZ deputy chief executive Mark Cordy says the organisation needs shareholder approval to finalise a contract. A decision won’t be announced until after the shareholder — the Government — delivers next week’s Budget.

Last year, REANNZ led a tender process for a second international cable after the former Labour government allocated $15 million from the 2008 budget to kick-start a new cable build.

However, that was cancelled after only one compliant tender was received.

REANNZ also went to tender for national connectivity, provided by TelstraClear for the past five years, saying it wished to transition KAREN to a new architecture to have greater "control of and access to the optical transmission layer".

Cordy says a contract should be finalised within the next few days but that the decision will probably be jointly announced with the international tender.

KAREN, which has around 70 members at around 120 sites around New Zealand, enables researchers, educators and innovators to exchange information and collaborate nationally and internationally by providing uncontested network capacity.

Monthly data traffic across all ports on KAREN is currently between 1PB and 3PB, tender documents say.

The request for proposal for the international tender indicates a maximum spend of around $16 million. The national tender figure hasn’t been announced but is thought to be in the vicinity of $6 million.

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