Government network has a budget and a start date

Shared network rollout expected in March after State Services flags the cost at $14 million

The Education Ministry's Schools Payroll Project may be one of the first initiatives hosted on the upcoming Government Shared Network.

A tender for consultancy services to help select an outsourced host for the new payroll system notes that the host evaluation process "will include consideration of hosting within the proposed Government Shared Network".

However, there is no certainty that the new system, provided by Synergy and Australian vendor Talent2, will be hosted on the GSN.

Earlier this month, the State Services Commission released tenders for the GSN and for independent quality assurance services regarding the proposed network.

According to a media release from the office of State Services Minister Trevor Mallard, the network will cost $14 million and a decision on providers is due by December. Deployment of the network itself is scheduled to begin in March.

The project has its roots in surveys that show New Zealand lags behind other OECD nations in terms of shared government network infrastructure. The network has been in the planning process for more than two years.

The GSN is a separate project from the Advanced Network for research institutes, but the two networks may share equipment at point of presence nodes.

The ROI (registration of interest) issued by the State Services Commission earlier this month calls for an outsourcer to manage the GSN infrastructure, infrastructure suppliers and suppliers of supporting service.

Avoiding "vendor lock-in" is a key objective, with the tender document noting "the government does not seek a supplier of traditional telecommunications service bundles, nor a prime contractor; supplier diversity underpins the shared service".

It won't be compulsory for government agencies to use the network, but "public service departments will be required, and other government agencies invited, to formally evaluate the use of the GSN when their network supply contracts expire and/or are renegotiated".

The ROI estimates there will be approximately 10,000 users by the end of the first year of the network's operation.

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