Australia's Telstra wins $1.1 bln defence contract

CANBERRA, April 18 Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:22pm EDT

CANBERRA, April 18 (Reuters) - Telecommunications company Telstra has secured a A$1.1 billion ($1.1 billion), six-year contract to overhaul communications for Australia's Defence Department, improving links between terrestrial, satellite and tactical networks.

Telstra said the contract to link the defence department's civilian and military telecommunications needs into a single high-speed network will create 350 new jobs, with work to be carried out at 430 Defence sites across Australia.

Telstra beat rival telecommunication company Optus, a unit of Singapore Telecommunications, as well as IT supplier Fujitsu for the contract.

Australia's Defence Department is planning a series of major technology upgrades for ageing desktop technology as well as data transmission and networks. ($1 = 0.9702 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Richard Pullin)