The European Commission has launched a call for tender for the provision of s-TESTA, a new secure communications network for the exchange of electronic data between public administrations across Europe. The new platform will replace the existing TESTA II network in mid-2005.
The objective of s-TESTA (“Secured Trans-European Services for Telematics between Administrations”) is to offer a secured, reliable and managed trans-European communications platform allowing information to be securely exchanged between EU and EEA Member States’ national administrations and European Institutions and Agencies. The platform, based on a dedicated, private infrastructure, will by default provide at least one secured access point in every participating country and institution.
The s-TESTA approach is collaborative, building on national efforts to establish national, regional or local administrative networks and connecting these to a trans-European network. In this so-called “domain based approach”, every connected domain will have to fulfil the necessary security, performance and organisational requirements in order to obtain full access to the s-TESTA EuroGate.
Migration of the current TESTA II network to the new infrastructure is foreseen for mid-2005, under the new European Community Programme for Interoperable Delivery of pan-European eGovernment Services to Public Administrations, Businesses and Citizens (IDABC). The implementation of s-TESTA will be controlled and supported by an outsourced central support and operation service, responsible for all operational issues, including security management of encryption devices. The European Commission and the Council of the European Union will however supervise all activities and procedures related to security.
The contract notice published on 16 July 2004 concerns the first phase of the restricted call for tender procedure, i.e. the selection of candidates for the provision of the network. The work to be contracted covers the delivery, exploitation and maintenance of s-TESTA, and is divided into two lots: delivery of a managed secured private communications infrastructure, and delivery of assistance services.
The overall value of the two lots is estimated at EUR 100 million (EUR 90 million for lot 1 and EUR 10 million for lot 2). Framework contracts will have an initial duration of four years with one possible extension of one year. The deadline for submitting requests to participate is 13 September 2004.
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