The Digital Transformation Agency has taken the first step towards replacing the federal government’s all-important data centre panel ahead of its expiry in mid-2023.

The agency issued a request for information (RFI) late on Thursday calling for feedback on a new data centre panel, which will offer “newer technology and additional products”.

The arrangement will replace the existing data centre facilities supplies panel introduced in 2014 to sit alongside two other data centre panels.

Canberra Data Centres, NEXTDC, Macquarie Telecom, Equinix, Fujitsu and Australian Data Centres are among the 15 providers on the existing panel.

The DTA said the new panel will be “broadly similar”, though will “improve data sovereignty… through the incorporation of the hosting certification framework”.

The framework was introduced in March to address supply chain and ownership risks by separating hosting providers into two camps: ‘certified strategic’ and ‘certified assured’.

Certified strategic is the highest level of assurance under the framework, and requires providers to allow the government to specify ownership and control conditions.

Only six data centre providers have been certified to date: Canberra Data Centres, Macquarie Telecom, Australian Data Centres, NEXTDC, Equinix and Fujitsu.

The DTA also plans to embed “enhanced risk and security management provisions for supply chain, cyber security, and critical infrastructure” in the panel head agreement.

Other planned changes to the existing data centre facilities supplies will be the inclusion of prefabricated data centres and models.

Equinix managing director Guy Danskine welcomed the refresh, saying it was a “good opportunity… to look at all the options available” after the upheaval of the last two years.

“This review will help ensure the panel gives the Commonwealth access to all the necessary digital building blocks that will contribute to ensuring Australia remains a competitive, global digital economy,” he said.

The DTA will accept feedback on the planned data centre panel until December 17.