Shaw wins Internet deal with city of Winnipeg

Shaw Communications has scored a big win in its campaign to extend its services to municipalities.

The Calgary-based cableco won a bidding contest to supply the city of Winnipeg with Internet and virtual private network service, the parties announced Tuesday.

Shaw president Peter Bissonnette said the details of the contract are confidential and couldn’t release the deal’s value. But he did say it’s shows how the company is becoming more aggressive in going after government business.

In January the cableco was selected by the city of Calgary to provide 311 service (local directory) for three years.

“We think there’s tremendous benefits, not just in pricing but in the quality of service we can offer them (municipalities),” Bissonnette said,

“We’d like to see provincial governments looking at us,” he added. “They’ve more traditionally been with the telcos. We’d like to see them spreading their wings, if you will.”

Shaw has more Internet customers than incumbent phone companies in its area, he said “They used to use the fear of god kind of marketing where thy would say ‘you can’t trust these guys with your data.’ Well, that’s 15 year old news.’”

Shaw [TSX: SJR.B] will create virtual private local area network domains for each of Winnipeg’s business units, including the police and fire departments, and T1 services for the city water and waste SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition ) system.

The contract also calls for establishing high speed Internet between buildings, including a 1 Gbps link between city hall and another major municipal structure, and to install Wi-Fi in the city’s libraries. The wireless network will link to the downtown Wi-Fi network Shaw is building in Winnipeg. Bissonnette said the service will be overseen from an existing Shaw network operations centre in the city, so no new facilities will have to be built.

The city of Winnipeg wouldn’t comment on the contract, except to say in an email that there was a competitive bidding process “in which Shaw was the successful vendor, based on the fact that they met the requirements of the RFP (request for proposals).”

The RFP said bidders had to show they could provide dual redundant Internet access, a secure network, network scalability and implementation of quality of service.

The RFP specifies that for each network connection there can’t be more than two service interruptions a month for planned maintenance.

It also specifies that 90 per cent of service calls from the city to the provider’s network operations centre have be answered within 5 minutes.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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