$20bn contract gives US telecoms execs the jitters

American telecoms executives may well be slightly agitated this month as they await the US General Services Administration’s (GSA) decision on who has won the largest telecommunications contract ever awarded.

Dubbed ‘Networx Universal’, the contract is thought to be worth around $20bn (£10.33bn) but that figure could rise. AT&T, Verizon Communications, Qwest Communications and Sprint Nextel have all delivered proposals.

The contract, which runs over a decade, could, according to US reports, be awarded this week.

According to US reports, the promise of the award has prompted some of the sub-contractors to relocate, boost their workforce and, in some cases, buy new equipment, in anticipation of the contract.

Once the GSA has made its decision, it will chose two leading contractors who can then bid on individual projects. The work is understood to range from internet-based telephone and video services to data-network security upgrades. Its goal is to create a roadmap for government agencies to upgrade to IP-based systems and any new technologies that emerge over the next 10 years.

Security is understood to be a main concern of the project, as is communications in times of emergency.

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