IBM awarded NSW DET netbook connectivity contract

Big Blue beats Lenovo, NEC and ASI Solutions to win NSW DET's $70 million connectivity contract

IBM has beaten Lenovo, NEC and ASI Solutions to win a NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) tender to implement wireless connectivity for student netbooks across 463 secondary schools.

The connectivity tender is tied to the DET’s $110 million mini-laptop (netbook) tender won by Lenovo and Microsoft. Lenovo will supply 220,000 IdeaPad S10e laptops to school students in years 9-12, while Microsoft is the software partner.

The $70 million wireless contract will see IBM rollout a centrally managed network over the next 12 months. It will be designed and built on an Aruba-based wireless solution leveraging the DET’s existing investment.

In a press release, IBM said it will set-up implementation teams across regional and metropolitan NSW, creating approximately 100 contractor roles. Two-thirds of the teams will operate outside of Sydney, and comprise locally sourced skills.

The wireless connectivity (DETPD0902) shortlist was determined following an expressions of interest (EOI) process launched in December. Sixteen suppliers responded to the EOI including D-Link, HP, 3Com, Telstra and Vodafone.

According to sources close to the RFP, the final four companies vying for the connectivity contract all chose to compete with an Aruba technology platform. However, during the more unofficial EOI process, sources claimed two of the four shortlisted players were running with a Cisco technology platform.

A spokesperson from the DET declined to comment on the tender or technologies on offer.

The contract will run for three years, with two one-year extension options.

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