Qwest nabs one of two Treasury telecom pacts

Qwest Communications International Inc. has won a subcontract it says is worth $1 billion to provide high-speed telecommunications services to the Treasury Department.

The Denver-based company will provide Asynchronous Transfer Mode and frame-relay technology to the department through the Treasury Communications System under a subcontract with TRW Inc.

Under the TCS contract, TRW originally planned to build and manage a dedicated high-speed backbone network for Treasury, but the department decided last year that outsourcing the project would be less expensive.

Exactly how much money Treasury plans to spend for these services is not clear. The TCS contract, which expires in six years, currently has a $1 billion ceiling, and TRW plans to award a subcontract to a second vendor that will compete with Qwest for Treasury's business.

A Qwest spokesman said the company has not yet determined at what speeds the network will operate.

Qwest has teamed with the regional Bell operating companies to provide local access to the backbone. Sprint Corp. will provide long-distance services to Treasury under the FTS 2001 contract.

Treasury officials could not be reached for comment. TRW executives declined to comment until Treasury awards the second subcontract, perhaps later this week.

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