Shared Services Canada, which is integrating a number of IT and telecommunications services across the federal government, has picked Manitoba’s phone company as its IP backbone carrier.

Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. said Friday it has signed a multi-year contract to provide business IP and switched Ethernet services to SSC.
“It’s a nice present for our sales team before the holdiay,” Chris Peirce, MTS’ Ottawa-based chief corporate officer, said in an interview.
He said the three-year deal could be worth $55 million over the life of the contract, which has an optional three-year extension.

MTS said the Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) managed service will help SSC deliver on its mandate to improve the efficiency, reliability and security of the government’s IT infrastructure.

It will connect up to 850 sites across the country through IP routing via a converged high performance network that will offer voice, video and data services. 
Until recently departments had been contracting with carriers separately, but Shared Services Canada has a mandate to unify a number of IT services. Peirce said MTS is already serving a number of departments; with this deal it will serve them all. Work will start almost immidiately in switching those departments not with MTS to its network, he said.

By implementing an IP-based solution, voice, data and multimedia applications can be converged onto a single private network, simplifying the ability for network development and providing a higher overall return on infrastructure investment, the carrier said.

This, combined with the benefits of a switched Ethernet solution, will allow smooth and dependable sharing of information and applications across multiple LANs,  it added.

“We have a long history of working with the federal government and will now have an even bigger role in creating greater efficiency in their network environment,”  Dean Prevost, president of MTS’ Allstream division, which offers business services and will actually be the federal provider. “We’re very pleased that our solutions fit the government’s objective of efficiently using technology to increase productivity.”