AT&T Government wins big at USDA with $350 million Networx contract

AT&T Government Solutions (NYSE: T) has racked up one of its biggest wins as a General Services Administration (GSA) Networx Universal contract holder with a $350 million contract to provide Managed Security Services and deploy a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Data Services.

What makes this latest win is the amount of locations that AT&T will have to serve under the contract and that they now are the sole data network provider for the USDA. Awarded under the GSA's Networx Universal contract vehicle, AT&T will build a managed and unified IP network architecture that will serve over 5,000 USDA locations. USDA's geographically dispersed network encompasses over 29 sub-agencies all with diverse missions, including doing research on food allergens, providing advice to farmers and inspecting food.

"If you think about those 29 sub-agencies in the department that do a lot of different things for a lot of different types of constituents," said Jeff Mohan, Executive Director, Networx Program Office, AT&T Government Solutions. "If you think about the extension office, they are primarily dealing with citizens and providing advice on how to grow crops. But if you think about the guys that are doing R&D on pathogens, they are probably talking to schools of public health, so they probably have a different requirement to move large files around."

Regardless of the mission, Mohan adds that AT&T will provide a common network framework that will drive collaboration between the diverse agencies within the USDA.

"What this network enables is all of these sub-agencies to use a common platform to do their business," Mohan said.

Perhaps the biggest thing that's changed with this new network is security services. Delivered on top of its MPLS-enabled network, AT&T not only will provide USDA with not only its IP VPN data services, but also a suite of managed security services, including a managed firewall, intrusion detection and prevention, managed e-authentication service, vulnerability scanning, anti-virus management, incident response, secure managed e-mail, and managed tiered security services.

AT&T is no stranger to supplying telecom services to the USDA. Previously, AT&T deployed sites for the USDA Universal Telecommunications Network (UTN) under the Federal Telecommunications Service 2001 (FTS2001) Crossover contract--the predecessor to GSA Networx.

For more:
- see the release here

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