Parliament puts out communications tender


Parliament is looking to get hooked up with fresh Wi-Fi and networking equipment, according to a tender document published online.

Parliamentary ICT is looking for a wide-scale refresh for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, including a telephony system replacement to cover around 6,000 ports.

The same provider who installs the telephony technology may also be tasked with bringing future services, including unified communications and convergence with other parliamentary networks.

The supplier will be expected to demonstrate value for money, plus the capacity for flexibility.

The tender document also revealed Parliament is on the hunt for a managed Wi-FI network for members of both houses as well as for visitors.

"The new network infrastructure must be resilient and have sufficient capacity to carry additional network traffic at a later date," the document read.

"This will allow Parliament to achieve its long term vision of network convergence and delivering the strategic aim of enabling 'to connect members, the public and the administration to the information and services they need from anywhere, at any time and from any device; to reduce the cost of ICT; and to provide new opportunities and pathways for greater efficiency and effectiveness for Parliament.'"

One provider may be able to secure both 'lots' for the telephony and Wi-Fi deployments, but Parliament is open to using two vendors for the separate projects.

"The supplier will be expected to demonstrate value for money, plus the capacity for flexibility, innovation and continuous improvement throughout the life of the contract, together with the ability to manage the planned/unplanned small and large scale changes," the tender document read.

The tender revealed Parliament expects implementation to kick off in September 2012 and be completed by March 2014.

Major vendors like BT and Virgin will most likely be interested in bidding, although major mobile operators are capable of bringing the goods.

O2 yesterday revealed it had won a contract with Network Rail to refresh the company's current Cisco switch and router estate across 450 sites.

Suitors will have to bid to a Government that has become tougher on suppliers since the days of Blair and Brown's Labour rule, which was criticised for wasting money on IT.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.