Rather than wait for Government decisions on the Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) and Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), the Canterbury District Health (CDHB) Board is pushing ahead with new contracts for core telecommunication services.
Late last year the Board announced a deal with Enable Networks to provide fibre connections to 20 Christchurch locations. The board’s previous supplier, Telecom, is battling with Enable Networks to secure the Christchurch and Rangiora area in the UFB.
CDHB CIO Chris Dever says Enable networks was chosen as a result of an RFP process. “They were the cheapest and in our opinion the most flexible option,” he says.
“The price differential between what we pay now and what we will be paying under the Enable proposal is so significant that any delay would be have significant cost implications. As it turns out, it looks like Enable Networks will have a place in the UFB suppliers for Christchurch.”
The health board is now seeking suppliers for internet services and WAN connectivity to rural hospitals and other health districts in the South Island. All contracts will be for a maximum of five years.
In a request for quotations (RFQ) it states the board is looking for the “supply and delivery of a flat rate corporate internet service, which must include both national and international traffic. This must be uncontested. The CDHB currently has a 15Mbit/s International and 10 Mbit/s National pipes.”
Prospective suppliers are asked to describe their policy for handling “extended outages”. “The CDHB’s minimum requirement is 99.98 percent availability and one day cost refunds (for fixed price services) for every 15 minutes of service outage until after four hours without service after official notification,” the RFQ states. Responses are due January 28.
In a separate RFQ the health board is seeking quotes for connecting 17 sites, mainly in the rural areas, which would enable voice, video conference and data connectivity.
“We are aware of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), and whilst this may assist connectivity to some of our rural sites, there are unknown time frames for the installation of RBI,” the RFQ says. Responses are due February 11.
Health providers will be priority users in the $300 million RBI, which, according to the Ministry of Economic’s timetable, will begin construction in early to mid-2011, once the successful bidder is chosen.
In December ICT Minister Steven Joyce announced a shortlist of three – Telecom/Vodafone bid, Kordia/FX Networks/Woosh bid and Torotoro Waea Partnership/Opto Networks bid.