AT&T captures $430 million DOD contract

AT&T last week won a $430 million contract to provide high-speed network connectivity for the Defense Department's High-Performance Computing Modernization Program.

The five-year Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) Intersites Services Contract (DISC) will support a highly distributed DOD research community by connecting researchers to the department's four major supercomputing centers and to each other. The contract was awarded by the Army's Information Systems Selection and Acquisition Agency.

In recent months, DOD has awarded three contracts to modernize its supercomputing centers: two to Nichols Research and one to Northrop Grumman Corp. DISC is the vehicle for making that computational power available to the community abroad, said Kay Howell, director of the modernization program.

Out of the program's 5,500 users, 4,500 work remotely, "and we would like for them to be able to use these resource centers without being aware of where they are located," Howell said.

Beyond providing pipes to the four Major Resource Centers, "it is also very important to connect the researchers to each other," Howell said.

DREN includes a strong focus on interactive collaborative computing, which is possible only with a strong network infrastructure.

DISC will support three primary communities: science and technology; development, test and evaluation; and modeling and simulation.

The services contract covers a range of wide-area networking requirements, including Intersite Internet Protocols and Asynchronous Transfer Mode, with bandwidth ranging from 10 megabyte/sec to 2.4 gigabit/sec. It also covers such local-area networking technology as Ethernet, Fiber Distributed Data Interface and Synchronous Optical Network.

AT&T submitted one of three bids on the contract.

Company officials could not be reached for comment late Friday.

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