Verizon wins deal to upgrade US ambassadors’ reception

The US State Department has awarded a contract to Verizon worth $1.58 billion.

Under the 10-year deal, the telco will modernise the comms infrastructure and provide IT services for the Department’s embassies, consulars and other important sites in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. In all, this is nearly 260 locations, a big chunk of the agency’s global footprint.

Verizon hasn’t detailed exactly what it will deploy at these sites, probably because their geographic spread and the variance in local infrastructure will demand a certain degree of pragmatism on the part of the telco.

“We are uniquely qualified to provide the Department of State with powerful solutions to their global network consolidation and management needs,” said Maggie Hallbach, SVP, Public Sector at Verizon, in a statement on Wednesday. “We have supported the Department of Defense and other national security and civilian customers with global critical infrastructure and communications for more than three decades.”

The contract itself is an Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) task order, which is the US government’s one-stop-shop for procurement contracts implemented by the General Services Administration (GSA) as part of its $50 billion plan to make it simpler for federal agencies to overhaul their telecoms and IT infrastructure.

As noteworthy as this week’s contract win is, as federal agencies go, the State Department, with its 70,000 staff, is one of the smaller government employers. It ranks some distance behind say, the Department of Homeland security, which employs 240,000, and the Department of Defense (DoD) with its 2.9 million service members and civilian personnel.

However, as Hallbach noted, Verizon – being one of the big two US operators – has won its fair share of other government deals.

Just last month in fact, Verizon won a $400 million EIS deal from the FBI, which covered Ethernet access and VPN services, as well as 4G and 5G fixed-wireless access (FWA). Under the contract, Verizon Public Sector is also providing the Bureau with 24/7 access to its IT development team, enabling them to nip any issues in the bud, and discuss possible service enhancements.

Meanwhile, in March, the DoD awarded Verizon three EIS contracts worth almost $1 billion in total. Some $515.3 million was allocated towards the cost of upgrading the Pentagon from copper to an all-IP network, while a further $432.9 million was for core voice, transport, Internet and professional services for the National Capital Region – the metropolitan area surrounding Washington DC. The remaining $18.3 million related to the supply of comms infrastructure at an army base called Fort Belvoir.

Last September, Verizon won an $887 million EIS deal from the Department of Labor to overhaul its legacy telco and IT infrastructure, rolling out new unified comms, video, and enterprise applications at 1,000 sites.

As the combined value of these recent contracts illustrates, it pays to be good enough for government work.

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