Verizon, Level 3 share US$1.8B telecom contract

includes traditional voice and data services, VoIP, video teleconferencing services and Internet access

Verizon Business and Level 3 Communications will share a multibillion contract to provide local telecommunications services to US federal agencies in the Washington, D.C. area.

The General Services Administration awarded the Washington Interagency Telecommunications Systems 3 (WITS 3) contract to Verizon Business and Level 3 Communications, worth as much as US$1.8 billion over eight years. WITS 3 will support 90 federal agencies and 795,000 federal users in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and suburban Maryland.

WITS 3 includes traditional voice and data services as well as VoIP, video teleconferencing services and Internet access. Agencies also may purchase customer premises equipment such as telephones, PBXs and routers, and technical support services such as equipment maintenance.

Verizon won the predecessor contract, WITS 2001, in 2000. WITS 2001 expires in January 2008.

Susan Zeleniak, vice president of federal markets for Verizon Business, said in an interview earlier this week that the carrier was eagerly anticipating the award of WITS 3. ``We're the current provider on that today,'' Zeleniak said. ``That's a very big deal for us.''

Both Verizon Business and Level 3 Communications are contractors under the federal Networx Enterprise program, a US$20 billion deal awarded earlier this year to provide long-distance voice and wide-area networking services to U.S. federal agencies nationwide.

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