CenturyLink to provide voice services for NASA

CenturyLink will also provide network services to NASA space centers around the country. (FierceTelecom)

NASA has awarded CenturyLink a second contract, this time assigning all of its voice traffic to the Louisiana-based telecom giant. The previous contract, awarded in April 2019, tapped CenturyLink to build NASA's backbone network at the agency's Houston headquarters. Under this new contract, CenturyLink will also provide network connectivity service to NASA's regional research facilities and space centers.

Both contracts have performance periods of nine-and-a-half years, and both are part of the federal government's $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) program, which requires government agencies to update their contracts for telecommunications services. It is meant to help federal agencies migrate to modern communications and IT services that meet government security standards. The federal government is in the process of moving its telecommunication contracts to EIS over time. By March 31 of next year 50% of agencies' telecom inventory must come from EIS contracts, and by September 2022 100% of their inventory must be from these contracts.

CenturyLink was the first supplier to receive authority to operate under the General Service Administration's EIS contract last year. Since then, the company has landed contracts with the Department of the Interior, the Department of Defense and the Social Security Administration. The company says it provides government agencies with security and reliability by supplying cybersecurity, cloud, managed hosting and IT services.

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AT&T and Verizon have also won contracts under EIS. AT&T has a contract to provide IP voice, data, security, cloud access and professional services for the Department of Justice, and Verizon has won contracts with the IRS and the Social Security Administration.

The EIS program is replacing the federal government's current contracts for purchasing network services, which were originally set to expire in March 2020. Now those contracts, which the government says are worth about $2.2 billion a year, have been extended to May 2023.