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New communication network: cost over 400%

New communication network: cost over 400%

Quebec plans to pay nearly 400% more than expected to replace the network that allows its employees to use the Internet. And the work is not over yet.

In 2017, the Quebec government estimated the bill for its new State Telecommunications Network (RGT) at $8.2 million, which will replace the now-obsolete Integrated Multimedia Telecommunications (RITM) network.

Five years later, more than $24 million has already been spent on this project, and the estimated total cost of implementing the TMN is $40.7 million, according to Project Dashboard at Information Resources for the Government of Quebec. This is a 397% increase over the original forecast.

In addition to being used by government employees to access the Internet (see box), RGT should be used to standardize computer processing centers, and the shift to cloud computing and the Quebec Health Registry.

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In an interview, the Minister of Cyber ​​and Digital Security explained that the transition to remote work has fundamentally changed the needs of the new network and the cybersecurity issues associated with it. “So I’d rather talk about over budget than over cost,” says Eric Kayer.

“In 2019, we had the capacity to manage 750 connections to work remotely (…). When the Prime Minister said in March 2020: We are putting the public service to work remotely, our number rose to 55,000 (…). “We are no longer in the same game,” he said.

Thus, the new amount will honor the amount planned during the call for bids, in 2020, following a review of needs, according to Mr. Kair.

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His department also argues that this network implementation portion is part of a larger contract with Bell Canada, valued at $144 million, for all “operational and operational management services for a maximum period of eight years. The supplier is free to review the cost of each component, respecting the general envelope,” MCN explains. .

Despite rising costs and new needs, Minister Kair does not believe the government should have introduced a new project for its government communications network.

“I like to be transparent with the citizen and say: listen, it’s not the same size, it’s a much bigger project,” the minister explained.

Costs explode

  • Expected amount in 2017: $8.2 million
  • Estimated bill today: $40.7 million
  • The network uses 34 institutions in the health network and about 100 departments and agencies.
  • To date, 48% of the work has been completed.
  • The project is scheduled to be completed in December 2027.