ICON (Intra Government Communications Network)

Intra Government Communications Network (ICON)

ICON connections are speed and protocol independent, meaning that entities can determine the technology that best meets their requirements. In effect, the data volume and speed transfer is limited only by the end-entities’ active equipment.

ICON has physical security accreditation to PROTECTED. Entities considering using ICON must conduct a risk assessment to ensure that:

  • security controls are sufficient to protect entity information;
  • identified risks associated with specific technologies, operating environments, and business functions are effectively managed; and
  • any residual security risks are identified and accepted.

A recent scoping study was conducted on the future management, operation and ownership of ICON on behalf of the Australian Government. The study found that ICON provides significant value to the Government as a strategic asset and is highly valued by government entities for its low cost and high volume bandwidth, which facilitates the provision of secure cost effective telecommunications services.

ICON could potentially play a central role in enabling broader Whole-of-Government technology solutions in the future, such as cloud-based services.

Where it all began

ICON commenced in 1991 when DFAT installed a cable between the John Gorton Building and York Park via the intervening government offices. At that time, teletype machines were connected via ICON links and data traffic was running at approximately 50-300 bits per second over a distance of five kilometres. Today, through a cooperative involving 88 government entities, ICON has grown to over 9 million metres of Single Mode Optical Fibre (SMOF) cabling throughout the Canberra region.

Since its inception, ICON has expanded to over 400 sites around the ACT. Over 88 entities connect over the 1,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cable that is ICON. Current estimates indicate the network carries in excess of two terabits per second over its pathways.

ICON Benefits

ICON has the following benefits:

  • significant cost-saving solutions compared to commercial carriers
  • voice, data, or video transfer between entities within the ACT
  • unmetered and unmonitored data carriage
  • ICON’s point-to-point links ensure the entity has all available bandwidth without sharing connections
  • a locked secure physical infrastructure to maintain its security accreditation.

Telecommunication services provided by GNSB are in accordance with procurement requirements under the Internet Based Network Connection (IBNC) Services Panel as part of the framework for the Australian Government Telecommunications Arrangements.

For further information, please contact the GNSB Client Service Centre on (02) 6215 1800 or email:icon@finance.gov.au

Last updated: 16 May 2017