Transit New Zealand has released a document calling for expressions of interest in a long-term telecommunications project.
Transit wants to find out if telecomms companies are keen on joint projects, developing, for instance, fibre or wireless networks.
“If [telcos] want to expand their network into rural areas, for example, we’re already there and can provide access for fibre-optic cable or for cell sites if that’s what is needed,” says Transit ITS manager Rod James. He heads the team developing Transit’s intelligent transport system (ITS), which is attempting to gauge user demand in the future.
“Before we lay fibre up and down the side of the state highways, we thought we should find out if any of the telcos are interested in getting together on a project.”
There would be obvious benefits for Transit — the kind of services it may offer in future will need a robust and widespread network — however, the benefits for telco providers are also great.
“The more information we gather about the network and how it’s performing and so on, the more information they have to sell back to their customers. There’s the potential for quite a lot of growth on both sides of the fence.”
James and his team already have two regional IT projects under way: the Auckland and Wellington motorway systems both have “variable message signs” as well as closed-circuit TV cameras and control rooms operating 24 hours a day. James wants to expand those kinds of services in a nationwide programme and be able to offer drivers information about weather and roading conditions, such as black ice, or alternative routes in case of accident or emergency. Once drivers are comfortable with cellphones or GPS devices they will be far more in touch than is currently possible.
Transit has an information pack for interested parties on its website. The final submission date is May 28 and James says Transit will then probably distill what information it has gleaned into another round of more detailed proposals.