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  1. Government Computing
December 11, 2017

FCO launches ECHO2 framework tender to link departments with embassies

£75m to £350m data connectivity framework opened up to bids to connect ministerial headquarters in the UK with respective embassies and consulates around the world

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the British Council (BC) are looking for applications from vendors to join a framework for data connectivity services.

The services, which will include wide area networks (WANs), local area network (LANs) and integration and ancillary services are needed as part of a requirement for “global, resilient, flexible and scalable enterprise wide voice and data connectivity services”, which a newly issued tender says, are required to connect ministerial headquarters and other head offices in the United Kingdom with their respective embassies, consulates and other office locations totalling approximately 550 sites in 170 countries.

The framework agreement, dubbed ECHO2, will last four years with a potential value between £75m and £350m. It will replace the current ECHO framework awarded to Cable & Wireless Worldwide (now Vodafone) in 2010.

The connectivity services to be made available under the framework agreement include managed WANs, campus LANs, intelligent routing functions, IP address management, WAN acceleration and network access controls.

The scope of the services will include transition from the incumbent supplier, provision of the connectivity services and exit management services to support transition to a replacement service provider on expiry of the call-off contracts.

The connectivity service supplier will be required to work with the provider of the voice and video service to ensure that the end to end service meets the requirements of the end users. The connectivity service supplier will also be expected to provide a range of lifecycle and common services as an integral part of the contracted solutions, including project and operational services.

The closing date for tenders is January 17 2018, with a contract start date of September 1 2018 and an end date of August 31 2022. According to a note on Contracts Finder, however, the opportunity is not suitable for SMEs. 

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