The NATO Communications Infrastructure project has reached a major milestone with the release to industry of the invitation for bid on 30 September 2015.
Following the 2nd Stage Authorization the NATO Investment Committee on 15 July 2015 and the Budget Committee approval for Contract Authority on 2 September 2015, the release of the NCI IFB represents the end of the NCI project's planning phase while kicking of the execution phase.
The NCI project will replace a major part of the NATO General Communications System, affecting at least 73 sites throughout NATO. It will provide a major upgrade of the wide area protected IP communications across the NATO Command Structure, NATO Headquarters and NATO Points of Presence in NATO member nations, delivering:
- Traditional IP access and transport services at different security classifications with significant increased capacity, Quality of Service (QoS) and traffic engineering capabilities;
- NATO Unclassified voice services
- Replacement of old telephony switches by Voice over IP telephony at 25 sites;
The contract value will not exceed 47 million Euro for the investment and 29 million Euro for the five-year operations and maintenance contract.
The Statement of Work and System Requirements Specifications that forms part of the NCI Best Value IFB package are written in such a way to encourage open standards and a low risk implementation, while also encouraging the bidder to consider a modern and efficient technical solution. Because of the high complexity (e.g. each of the 73 sites is unique in its network capabilities) the SoW and SRS have required a careful development phase with input from a broad cross section of elements across the Agency. There will be considerable emphasis in the evaluation to ensure that the selected contractor's solution represents the best value across the full life-cycle.
The average lead time of comparable projects in value and complexity from IFB to Contract Award is around one year. Based on that, the Contract Award for the NCI is estimated to be achieved at September 2016. Following an intensive 10 months design and testing phase, the roll out would then start mid-2017, resulting in IOC mid-2018 and FOC mid-2019.
Figure: the NCI connects and provides protected IP communications to various NATO and National networks, while making use of the Leased Transmission (LTX) transport network.