DynCorp to offer feds satellite access to Net

Government customers are clamoring for bandwidth just the same as nearly every commercial organization, and DynCorp hopes its new alliance with a satellite Internet service provider will result in solutions that meet federal customers' needs.

DynCorp, a Reston, Va.-based information technology services company, is partnering with eSat Inc., a small ISP based in Fountain Valley, Calif., to develop networking applications, secure-access solutions and other services for DynCorp's government customers.

The Global Satellite Internet Gateway, eSat's flagship product, accesses the Internet using a local-area network or dial-up connectivity going out, but any data sent back flows through eSat's network operations center, which sends data to recipients via satellite to an 18-inch dish at about 1 megabit/sec.

The advantages include the 1 megabit/sec speed on the downlink for less than the cost of a T-1 connection, which transmits data at about 1.5 megabits/sec, and the ability to send material to multiple sites simultaneously, said Dean McKendrick, senior vice president of the network services division in DynCorp's information and enterprise technology group.

The eSat solution has been marketed largely to commercial clients so far, but there are a lot of applications for government, McKendrick said.

"What would add benefit for the government is security," he said. "We want to leverage some of the capability we've developed using public-key infrastructure to build a security solution around this technology as well." PKI uses encryption, digital signatures and other technologies to secure transactions over the Internet.

DynCorp said it would cost customers about $500 a month to lease the gateway and dish. The solution could support any agency's distance-learning program or any field office, McKendrick said.

DynCorp has begun discussions with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which could use the solution to support field offices set up at the site of disasters. The Agriculture Department's Forest Service and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are other potential customers, McKendrick said.

Any library or federal facility designed to distribute government publications electronically to citizens might also consider the solution.

"We feel we are just touching the tip of the iceberg of the applications," McKendrick said.

Carol Sarpalius, vice president of East Coast operations for eSat, said the hybrid nature of the solution and its portability are other advantages. Though a lot of fiber-optic cable lines have been put down across the nation and are available for lease, they are expensive, and as more users go online, they will get crowded, Sarpalius said.

Clayton Mowry, executive director of the Satellite Industry Association in Alexandria, Va., said eSat's solution is a variation of an old technology called very small-aperture terminals used by banks, grocery stores and gasoline stations to transmit and receive data.

"This is a concept that a lot of companies are getting into now," Mowry said. "It's basically creating networks over a satellite system to distribute content to a specific user group."

Mowry said the secure high-speed content delivery over satellite makes sense for any corporate or government network in which a lot of people are sharing the same information and fast connections are needed.

Mowry added that Loral Space and Communications Ltd., Hughes Network Systems and GE Capital Spacenet Services Inc. are among the other contractors offering similar solutions.

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