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Network World - All five carriers that bid on the U.S. government’s 10-year, multibillion-dollar Networx Enterprise program were awarded contracts on Thursday, opening up the federal telecommunications market to more competition than ever before.
The Networx Enterprise winners are AT&T, Level 3 Communications, Qwest Government Services, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Business. Networx Enterprise will provide secure, managed and wireless IP services nationwide to federal agencies.
Networx Enterprise is the second half of the federal government’s long-awaited Networx program, which has an estimated value of $20 billion through the next decade. Networx will provide domestic and international telecom services including voice, data, video and wireless services to 135 federal agencies. It is the world’s largest telecom program.
Networx is the primary way that federal agencies will upgrade their networks to support such new technologies as VoIP and IPv6, the next-generation Internet Protocol; as well as meet their needs for security, business continuity and disaster recovery.
"Agencies will be able to buy a more total solutions package than they have been able to buy in the past," says Diana Gowen, senior vice president and general manager of Qwest Government Services. "We plan to work with them to develop comprehensive solutions for their biggest pain points. That was not easily accomplished under FTS 2001, which had a more limited set of [services]."
Networx is divided into two parts: Networx Enterprise and Networx Universal. While Networx Enterprise provides emerging IP services nationally, Networx Universal provides comprehensive network services globally.
Networx Universal was awarded in March to AT&T, Qwest and Verizon Business. The fourth bidder – Sprint Nextel – was shut out of the Networx Universal program. Winning Networx Enterprise is a relief to Sprint Nextel, which held both of the federal government’s previous contracts, FTS 2001 and FTS 2000.
Sprint Nextel "bid aggressively and met the government’s requirements and was deserving of an award for those reasons," said John Johnson, GSA’s acting assistant commissioner for Integrated Technology Service, at a press conference held in Washington, D.C., to announce the Networx Enterprise winners.
"We’re thrilled," says Tony D’Agata, vice president for the Federal Government-Public Sector at Sprint. "We’re very happy to have the opportunity to continue to serve customers that we’ve had for 18 years. . . . We’re happy to sell them future technology and the things that they are interested in like next-generation IP services, wireless and convergence."