Bell Atlantic upgrades WITS users to Sonet

Bell Atlantic Federal Systems last weekend began to move users of its Washington Interagency Telecommunications Service (WITS) to a Synchronous Optical Network (Sonet) ring offering connections to federal sites of up to 155 megabit/sec.

The upgrade to four-node Sonet represents a recognition by Bell Atlantic and the General Services Administration of the government's increasing need for wide-area, high-speed data services. Unlike other federal telecom contracts, such as FTS 2000, WITS had previously offered only voice service.

Dave Raff, an account executive at Bell Atlantic, said the upgrade—known as the Government Metropolitan Area Network (G-MAN)—will allow users inexpensive access to Asynchronous Transfer Mode service as well as Bell Atlantic's Fiber Distributed Data Interface, frame relay, Switched Multimegabit Data Service and Internet offerings.

Sallie McDonald, chief of business development in the Telecommunications Services Division of GSA's National Capital Region, said the rings would serve as the Washington, D.C., area's springboard for national data applications.

"We took the voice-only WITS and re-engineered it to include data services," McDonald said last week at a briefing to potential G-MAN users. "We are now looking forward to late spring when FTS 2000 becomes Sonet-capable, and G-MAN can serve as a nationwide gateway."

Bell Atlantic hired subcontractor Hi-Tech International Corp. to assist users who want to connect to G-MAN. Barry Turner, the G-MAN project director at Hi-Tech, said his company "will facilitate connectivity from your local offices to the network."

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