City of Toronto inks wide-area network contract

Cogeco Data Services Inc., formerly known as Toronto Hydro Telecom, has inked a deal to provide wide-area networking services at gibabit speeds over its fibre network to city offices.


John Davies, the City of Toronto’s director of technology infrastructure services, expects the city will pay $39 million over 10 years for both the core offices and independent agencies boards and commissions, such as the Toronto Transit Commission.


The city has a 10-year contract, estimated at $20 million over 10 years, while the agencies, boards and commissions will be served by a separate contract for the same duration, which Davies says will cost about $19 million.

Cogeco Data Services will provide optical networking services at one gigabit per second (Gbps) to the city offices and at 20 Gbps or faster to the data centres. Davies expects the city will have more than one site connected before the end of 2009 but the bulk of the work will be done in 2010.


The city is “still working out the detailed plans” for the time table, Davies said, adding they got deal similar in scope to the contract the Toronto District School Board announced with Cogeco Data Services  in late 2008.


Under that deal, the schools will get gigabit links with other schools and a 40 Gbps connection to the school board’s data centre.


Cogeco Data Services agreed to connect 600 schools over three years to replace a 100 Megabit per second WAN it has from Bell Canada.


The city’s contract was based on a memorandum of understanding drafted with Toronto Hydro Telecom when it was run by the city, which sold the network to Cogeco Cable Inc. in 2008 for $200 million. It operates about 500 km of fibre in the city, plus the OneZone Wi-Fi service downtown. Although it provides managed firewall and storage services, its contract with the city is for the network service, said Virginia Brailey, Cogeco Data Services vice-president of marketing and communications.


Brailey said Cogeco Data Services has customers in both the public and private sectors. The deal with the city will include connections to transit offices, libraries, the zoo and police stations, she added.



Davies said part of the contract includes building more fibre to site, and connections from the fibre to demarcation points near the buildings.


It will be used to provide data services but the city eventually plans to move to voice over IP, Davies said.


The city is working on a request for proposals for VoIP, though it will use Centrex services at some offices, Davies said, because VoIP would not be economical.


“The intent is that voice and data will go over this network,” he said. “We’re intending to progressively move to voice over IP in the next couple of years. Ultimately we expect video to be an increasingly popular.”


He confirmed the contract includes a service level agreement but said the details are confidential.




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