NASA Makes First Award on GSA’s Massive $50 Billion Telecom Contract

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With security authorizations trickling in, the space agency awarded a $10.5 million contract to support its core services.

The nation’s space agency, NASA, is first to make a telecom modernization award off of the General Services Administration’s $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Services contract.

CenturyLink, one of the big three communications infrastructure providers, announced Monday an agreement with NASA to modernize the agency’s infrastructure through the Communications Program Backbone Core Services contract. The CP Backbone includes 21 locations, according to an EIS solicitation, with 12 core sites—covered by the CP Backbone Core Services contract—and nine regional sites—covered under a separate solicitation, the CP Backbone Regional and Session Initiation Protocol Services contract, which has yet to be awarded.

Under the $10.5 million, nine-and-a-half year, contract, CenturyLink will “provide core backbone network services with speeds of up to 100 Gbps,” according to a company release.

“It’s an honor to be the first vendor awarded an EIS task order,” said David Young, CenturyLink senior vice president for strategic government. “Our fast, secure network connectivity will help NASA achieve its vision to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.”

CenturyLink was the first of nine vendors to obtain an authority to operate, which certifies the company’s infrastructure meets a baseline level of cybersecurity. The other two large vendors, AT&T and Verizon, got their ATOs shortly after. A spokesperson for AT&T told Nextgov the company is bidding on “multiple EIS-related task orders” and expects to see more awards announced within the next six to eight weeks.

A GSA spokesperson earlier told Nextgov the other vendors are working on their ATOs and several are expected to be certified before the Sept. 30 deadline for agency awards. GSA is pushing agencies to have awards made before the end of fiscal 2019 in order to ensure enough time to migrate from the current governmentwide telecom contracts, Networx and WITS-3, which were extended to allow time for the transitions. Those contracts are set to expire by 2023.