The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management Has Signed a Contract With TeamTalk

civil-defence-logoThe Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management has signed a contract with New Zealand telecommunications company, TeamTalk, to build a new alternative communications network for the National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC).

The Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management, John Hamilton, said that in the event of a disaster or system failure cutting telecommunications links to Wellington, the new network will allow the NCMC’s computer, information and telephone systems to remain in contact with the rest of New Zealand.

Mr Hamilton said it is planned that the new network will be in place by early 2011.

The alternative communications network will consist of two microwave paths carrying computer and voice traffic from the Beehive to two different hilltops, outside of Wellington.

The two paths then run on two different microwave routes to Palmerston North and Auckland. From there the computer and data streams will re-enter the public networks and the Department of Internal Affairs’ nationwide network.

The Ministry selected TeamTalk’s proposal after a competitive tender process. The cost of the contract is $469,000 over the next five years. The TeamTalk solution offered the best combination of service and price.

NCMC will continue to use normal telecommunications circuits, a dedicated direct link between Wellington and Auckland, and independent satellite and radio links. The alternative network will be additional to these existing systems and will have far greater capacity than the current satellite and radio links.

The alternative communications network is part of a larger project to upgrade the NCMC. The upgrade includes:

  • installing videoconferencing facilities (completed)
  • deploying a computer-based emergency management information system (EMIS) (due to be completed in October)
  • building an alternative communications network.

EMIS and the alternative communications network are closely linked.

EMIS will provide an information sharing and management system that will be used simultaneously at national, regional and local levels. It will be used by the Ministry, the 16 regional civil defence emergency management groups and all city, district and regional councils.

The EMIS server will be in the NCMC, with a separate disaster recovery server in Auckland.

As well as to the normal commercial telecommunications links to the Internet, the EMIS servers in Wellington and Auckland will have their own dedicated direct link to the Internet.

The alternative communications network will be additional to those links and will provide connections to the Internet at different locations outside Wellington.


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