Government Shared Network to be discontinued

  • Tony Ryall
State Services

State Services Minister Tony Ryall has announced the previous government's Government shared Network (GSN) is to be discontinued because it is financially unsustainable. Participating government agencies will be moved to a new provider in the private sector.

The Government Shared Network is a network linking government agencies with high speed internet and telecommunications services.

"The previous government wrote off $10.6 million from the GSN project in the 2007/2008 financial year. The project had been running at a considerable financial loss ever since it became operational in September 2007 - losing $700,000 per month. Despite that the previous government had planned to carry on with it," says Mr Ryall.

"This government has taken the earliest practical opportunity to begin shutting it down. It is not prepared to continue to underwrite significant losses under any economic climate," says Mr Ryall. "All public service agencies need to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and focus on high value and high performance programmes."

The State Services Commission will oversee a managed exit of government agencies from the GSN, working with existing users to put in place a single procurement process for a replacement provider. This will be done with the aim of minimising costs.

 Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Government Shared Network?

The Government Shared Network is a secure network linking government agencies with high speed internet and telecommunication services. It comprises a fibre optic network (which is currently accessible from the Auckland and Wellington central business districts) as well as a wide area network linking agency locations around New Zealand.

The Government Shared Network has been operational since 2007 and is currently used by sixteen agencies providing connections to around 130 government offices.

2. How many agencies are using the GSN?

16 agencies are currently on the GSN.

3. Why was the GSN set up?

The GSN was created to provide a secure telecommunications network to help achieve collaboration between agencies for data exchange, shared services and joint service delivery.

4. Why was the State Services Commission responsible for setting up the GSN?

There was no natural ‘home' within the machinery of government for delivery of cross-agency ICT services, therefore the previous government instructed the State Services Commission (SSC) to establish the services and make recommendations on the most appropriate ongoing organisational form.

5. What happens now?

The exit from GSN is expected to take 12 months. The SSC will work with existing users to put in place a single procurement process for a replacement provider. A managed transition off GSN is important to ensure that services to current users are disrupted as little as possible, and costs of transition are kept as low as possible.