September 26, 2007
AT&T this week received a task order that could be worth up to $1 billion from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the first federal agency to transition to a next-generation network under the Networx Universal contract.
The Treasury Network, or TNet, will converge data, voice, and video technologies in a single infrastructure over which the Treasury will provide services to employees and U.S. taxpayers. AT&T received the first major task order awarded by the General Services Administration's Networx Universal, a $20-billion contract under which AT&T, Qwest Communications, and Verizon Business will help upgrade the government's wireless and landline infrastructure. The contract covers conventional, existing, and legacy forms of telecom services. The Treasury's task order was $270 million, although AT&T said it could be worth $1 billion with additional services and other options over the life of the contract, which has a timeframe of ten years. "Those can include hosting services, Internet Protocol (IP) telephony -- including handsets and call center solutions -- and whatever applications they want to put on top," said Don Herring, senior VP of AT&T Government Solutions, in an interview. AT&T will engineer and design TNet, as well provide the necessary equipment installation and management. TNet is considered to be a wide area network (WAN) and will use IP for delivering data. Another next-generation component of the network is AT&T's Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), which will allow the Treasury to migrate from multiple networks to a single IP network with consistent standards and capabilities. TNet's Virtual Private Network backbone will integrate 12 Treasury bureaus, including the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Inspector General, the United States Mint, and the Internal Revenue Service. Additional applications and services are expected to be layered on top of that. AT&T said it will ensure the network is secured to protect data that travels across it using various security methods, such as encryption, intrusion detection and prevention, and firewalls. "We will also help [the Treasury] with other aspects of their security like password management," said Herring. More than 100,000 Treasury employees in over 1,000 locations will use TNet. The employees will be able to work remotely and maintain the network from anywhere, since it will be IP-based. "We're just at the planning stage right now," said Herring. "But we have a whole team already working with the Treasury to get the network up and running." Other federal agencies will be closely following the success of the contract.
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