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PSN Connectivity

Contract ID: RM860

Start Date: 25/04/2012

End Date: 24/04/2015

Description

It is strongly advised that you read the PSN Customer Guidance before commencing your further competition.

N.B The guidance has been updated with some changes on pages 42,55 & 66.
 

We have also produced  A Simple Guide - Buying from the PSN Frameworks

PSN Connectivity is a framework agreement consisting of a single lot for procurement of Wide-Area (WAN) connectivity services, including access and core networks and Local Area (LAN) connectivity services.

The following may also be procured through this framework in association with connectivity services:

  • Network encryption services
  • Network gateways
  • Key management
  • Consultancy
  • Design, deployment, transition and business continuity services
  • Implementation and support
  • Service integration

Connectivity services typically include:

  • Access circuits – copper or fibre including dark fibre
  • Leased lines or private circuits, point-to-point or multipoint, Ethernet, SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) or DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing)
  • Broadband – ADSL, SDSL (Asymmetric or Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line) or equivalent including LLU (Local Loop Unbundled)
  • VPNs (Virtual Private Networks)
  • Bandwidths from 2 Megabits per second to 10 Gigabits per second

PSN Services: The framework agreement has been designed for procurement of PSN Services, although it is equally suitable for procurement of non-PSN services. PSN Services are those that will form part of the Public Services Network (PSN) and/or are compliant with the appropriate standards.

Security: The framework is suitable for a range of Business Impact Levels (as defined in HMG Security Policy Framework), typically up to and including Confidential (IL4,4,4 for Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability respectively), although it may also be used to procure services at higher impact levels.  The minimum impact level for PSN Services is IL2, and services at that level and above have appropriate assurance and accreditation.

Service Levels: Connectivity services are available at a range of service levels, including Business Impact Level 4 and beyond for availability. A set of PSN-based default service levels is incorporated in the Call-Off Contract, which may be specified as is, or modified, or replaced in its entirety by customer requirements specified at the call-off stage.

Benefits

The Public Services Network (PSN) is a multi-supplier environment providing end-to-end service assurance for security, integrity and reliability, comprising a network of networks operating at a minimum Business Impact Level of IL2 for Confidentiality and Integrity. The PSN in effect offers the benefits of a competitive multi-vendor market place, but with levels of performance and assurance typically associated with a single-supplier network. PSN suppliers must comply with rigorous standards to ensure that this integrity is maintained, and customers who wish to connect to the PSN must for their part comply with a Code of Connection. PSN standards cover service management as well as technical issues such as security, performance, reliability, quality, integrity and interoperability. All suppliers on the PSN Connectivity framework must comply with PSN standards for service management whether or not they are supplying PSN Services.

Public sector organisations, particularly Central Government, are strongly urged to deploy PSN Services, where applicable, for new telecommunications requirements, not least to help counter increasing levels of electronic security threats.

All suppliers to the PSN Connectivity framework are able to deliver PSN Services in accordance with PSN standards, accredited to the appropriate level by CESG, the Communications-Electronics Security Group within GCHQ.  

Summary of framework benefits:

  • Access to a broad range of suppliers, including SMEs, pre-qualified as capable of delivering networking services complying with PSN standards and accredited by CESG to high standards of security, performance and reliability
  • The enablement of control, rationalisation and an assured security regime in procuring an underlying PSN-compliant infrastructure, reducing overall cost of ownership
  • Savings realised through the removal of duplicated circuits/surplus bandwidth, increased flexibility, equipment reduction, increased aggregation and reduced connectivity costs
  • Greater flexibility in the selection of service providers, all employing a common QoS (Quality of Service) model for service assurance with appropriate CoS (Class of Service) characteristics
  • Opportunities for cost reduction by moving to IL2 commodity networks
  • IL3/IL4 available as encrypted overlays interoperable across vendors, rather than fixed infrastructure
  • Improved inter-consumer IL3/IL4 service sharing capabilities via common encryption profiles and related key management methods
  • Standard secure gateways: reduced complexity for multi tenant sites and for access to IL3 services, resulting in lower management costs
  • Reduced Internet local address (Network Address Translation – NAT) complexity, with coordinated address schemes across providers and consumers
  • Coordinated address schemes with reduced firewall complexity and resulting costs
  • Elimination of the need for individual customers to go to the considerable lengths – cost and time – that would be required to prepare a procurement portfolio providing similar assurances in the PSN context.
     

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Access

You are advised in the first instance to read the Guidance Notes to familiarise yourself with the framework ordering procedures.

Call-off contracts can be awarded by means of conducting further competitions via the eSourcing tool.  A further competition may be conducted in one or two stages. If a two-stage process is conducted, the first stage will identify the framework contractors capable of providing the required services. The second (or only) stage will contain the customer’s specification of requirements.

Direct call-offs are not permitted under this framework agreement, unless such a process is specified by a customer within their further competition award criteria, and the customer is satisfied such additional business or upgraded services are within the scope of their original requirement and would not necessitate re-opening competition.

Customers should specify their requirements by completing a call-off form, which is available for download from the eSourcing suite. The requirements specified in the call-off form will include the following: 

  • Identifying the required services, which may include:
    • Standard services that conform to standard service requirements specified in the framework agreement, for which service descriptions reflecting those requirements are available for all framework contractors (available in the documents tab), and/or
    • Bespoke services to meet customer-specified requirements (within the scope of this framework agreement) for which standard services are not available;
  • Specifying the required service levels, which may consist of affirming the default service levels provided as Schedule 2.3 to the call-off contract;
  • Stating whether the customer is purchasing the services for itself and/or in order to supply those services on to any indirect customers (where an “indirect customer” does not contract directly with the contractor but receives the services via a “direct customer” – facilitating aggregation by umbrella organisations);
  • Stating whether the customer wishes to appoint one or more agents (including service/system integrators) to act in pursuance of any of the customer’s rights or to perform any of its obligations or functions – including forming call-off contracts;
  • Stating whether it wishes the contractor to enter into a call-off cooperation agreement (or CoCo) which is an agreement with other suppliers to the customer of related and/or dependent services to help assure the customer’s overall service integrity;
  • Completing all appendices to the extent possible and indicating where input from the contractor will be required as part of its tender; and
  • Considering whether, in the context of the particular proposed call-off contract, any of the call-off terms (including the schedules) need to be amended or overridden by including any special terms in the call-off form.

The CoCo is available for download from the PSN website. Please scroll down that page and under Current PSN Standards you will find:
            PSN Code Template
            PSN Code Template Annex B

For general enquiries on this framework please email:

Supplier Email
British Telecommunications plcbuyingsolutions[at]bt[dot]com
Capita Business Services Ltditsbidsupport[at]capita.co[dot]uk
eircom UK Ltdpsn[at]eircom.co[dot]uk
Fujitsugovernment.frameworks[at]uk.fujitsu[dot]com
Level 3 Communications Limitedpsn[at]level3[dot]com
KCOM Group PlcPSN.Frameworks[at]kcom[dot]com
Logicalis UK Ltdpsn.connectivity[at]uk.logicalis[dot]com
MDNX Enterprise Services Limitedpsn[at]mdnx[dot]com
Thales UK LimitedthalesPSN[at]uk.thalesgroup[dot]com
Updata Infrastructure UK Ltdpsnc[at]updata[dot]net
Virgin Media Business Limitedpublicprocurement[at]virginmedia.co[dot]uk
Vodafone LtdPSN[at]vodafone[dot]com

 


 

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Savings

Benchmarking

  • Contractors’ Framework Pricing Catalogues: Submitted by contractors as part of the tenders that enabled them to win framework agreements. The framework agreement states that prices bid by contractors in further competitions may not exceed the prices for corresponding items in their framework pricing catalogues, provided attributes such as service levels are the same;  and must be consistent where such attributes vary. [Note: Framework Pricing Catalogues do not enable direct call-offs, but establish a reference benchmarking baseline for prices offered by contractors through further competitions.]
  • Benchmarking: The framework agreement includes provisions for customers to conduct benchmarking. We coordinate benchmarking, and may conduct a benchmark, if requested to do so by a customer. Benchmarking will take into account comparable services and attributes such as service levels. Should the benchmark report indicate that the benchmarked services are not delivering good value, the framework agreement includes obligations for the contractor to reduce charges accordingly.

Savings

  • The tendering process included submission of prices for “Buying Scenarios” based on comparable managed, secure connectivity services supplied under the GSi (Government Secure Intranet) framework agreement. The tendering process assured links between the Buying Scenario prices and those in the contractors’ framework pricing catalogues. The PSN Connectivity framework agreement includes provisions, stated above under “Benchmarking”, that prices bid by contractors in further competitions must be consistent with prices for corresponding items in their framework pricing catalogues. It is therefore possible to calculate savings achieved by comparing the prices attained through further competition in the PSN Connectivity framework with prices for similar items in the GSi framework and its successor GCF (the GSi Convergence Framework), both for individual procurements and for the PSN Connectivity framework agreement as a whole.
     

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Background

The PSN Connectivity framework was developed to address two principal needs:

  • General network connectivity requirements for customers wishing to procure network connectivity services of all grades simply and efficiently from a range of pre-qualified suppliers. This need has previously been met by the Telecom Networks framework agreement.
  • High-integrity managed network connectivity services offering advanced levels of reliability, performance and security from a range of pre-qualified suppliers with accredited networks.  This need has previously been met by the GSi and GCF frameworks, both of which are single-supplier.

The PSN Connectivity framework was developed in close association with the PSN Programme in the Cabinet Office, and forms an integral component of this programme.  The PSN Programme recognised from its inception that framework agreements of this nature were material to the success of the programme and the realisation of its benefits.

Customer stakeholders who contributed to development of the framework include NHS, MoD, Local Government Yorkshire and Humber (LGYH), DWP, MoJ, NPIA.  All of these stakeholders require PSN-compliant services, and their requirements have been incorporated in the framework.

The framework is managed by our Network Services Business Team. They assist and coordinate benchmarking of prices attained through further competitions, both against prevailing market prices outside the public sector and/or the PSN environment, and against the prices bid by the PSN Connectivity contractors as part of their framework tender submissions.  Prices attained through further competitions will also be made visible to potential customers.

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Lot details

Lot Number Lot Name Lot Category Number of Suppliers Contract Expiry
All Lots Network Connectivity ICT 12 - click here to view suppliers 24/04/2015

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Framework Manager Contact Details

Networks Duty Officer

network.services@ccs.gsi.gov.uk

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