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Defence now plugged into international communications system

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NO. 94/79 THURSDAY, MAY 17 1979


The Defence Department in Canberra , by means of a

satellite, can now draw on vast quantities of information

stored in computer data banks throughout North America.

The Department has adopted OTC's new

international communication system called MIDAS (Multimode

International Data Acquisition Service) which will greatly

reduce the cost and time involved in obtaining Defence

related information from overseas. The Department of Defence

is the first government department to introduce MIDAS.

In anticipation of the introduction of MIDAS,

the Department carried out a pilot scheme aimed at evaluating

the usefulness of the North American data bases as a Defence

information resource. The pilot scheme was tested over a

period of 12 months, and proved that MIDAS could be successfully

introduced by Defence.

By means of a satellite link and the latest

computer packet switching technology, the Department will be

able to receive unclassified data, at a cost of about $25 an

hour compared with $144 an hour under OTC's previous system which

used the more expensive voice communications circuits. The

time saved will be considerable because of the greater .

transmission speeds available under MIDAS.

The introduction of the new communications system


marks the beginning of a new era of low-cost international

data transmission.

The type of information available through MIDAS is

concerned with report type literature and spans almost all

fields of recorded knowledge.

Immediate online access to the wealth of information

available will be invaluable to Defence planners, managers and


In operation, the MIDAS access route from within

Australia utilises STD lines to Sydney, the OTC network from

Sydney to North America (either by satellite link or, to a

considerably lesser extent, the trans-Pacific cable) and then

telecommunication networks to the host computers storing such

information in North America.

To coincide with the introduction of MIDAS, and to

take advantage of the lower costs, four additional access

points are being installed by Defence in Canberra, Sydney,

Melbourne, and Salisbury, South Australia. They are expected to

be operational in the near future, and will provide the major

Defence centres in Australia with the new facility.

OTC also plans to expand MIDAS to other countries,

including the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan. Defence

authorities will be watching developments in this area with a

view to expanding its North American MIDAS service to include

these countries.

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Further Inquiries: Mr Noel Tanswell 65 2999 (office hours) 48 0476 (after hours)


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