Verizon wins $1.5B contract to update State Dept. network

Verizon reeled in a big fish this week, netting a $1.5 billion task order from the U.S. State Department to upgrade the network infrastructure at nearly 260 embassy locations across the globe. The deal, a significant catch alone, raises Verizon’s 2022 tally of publicly announced government contracts for wireline services to nearly $3 billion.

The deal was the latest awarded to the operator through the government’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) technology procurement program and carries a 10-year term. As part of the task order, Verizon will modernize and manage the communications and IT infrastructure at embassy and other key locations in the U.S., Asia, Africa, Middle East and South America.

Maggie Hallback, Verizon’s SVP of Public Sector, told Fierce the contract represents new business for the operator. She added the task order is also special because “while many of our other EIS contracts have global aspects to them, many of them are also very much committed to the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii. So, what makes this probably pretty unique is that it has such a broad global footprint.”

Earlier in the year, Verizon bagged a trio of contracts from the Department of Defense (DoD) worth $966.5 million and a more than $400 million task order from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Including the deal announcement this week, Verizon has won contracts totaling more than $2.8 billion thus far in 2022.

These build on EIS awards totaling at nearly $1.6 billion in 2021. Wins last year included a series of five contracts with the Department of Labor worth a total of $887 million; a $495 million contract from the DoD;  a $78.8 million contract with the Air National Guard, a $78 million task order from the Naval District Washington and a $34.6 million deal with the Department of Energy.

While she declined to delve into the specifics of the State Department contract, Hallbach highlighted a number of trends Verizon has seen across its EIS contracts more broadly.

“The type of work that we’re talking about within EIS really is around decommissioning of TDM infrastructures, going to Ethernet and fiber-based services, starting to implement or implementing software-defined wide-area networks, [and] high-capacity links. 100-gig links are not uncommon,” she said. “Those are the types of services that we see many of our EIS task order awards embracing. The pandemic has really accelerated the use of cloud-first solutions and so I think EIS a great vehicle to buy and consume those services.”

While the EIS award cycle is drawing to a close, Hallbach said the contracts it has won are likely to evolve and expand. “Our history has proven that the base term gets extended multiple times through multiple years,” she explained. “These customers' needs evolve over time and we process – as does our competition I have to assume – many modifications to the contract to add services.”

“So I would say that EIS is never over,” she concluded.