Texas General Services Commission (GSC) announced contract with AT& T Solutions

The Texas General Services Commission (GSC) announced Monday it had contracted with AT& T Solutions to design, build and operate the backbone network of TEX-AN 2000, the state's centralized communications network.

The five-year base contract is valued at $250 million but could be worth up to $1 billion over 10 years if local agencies choose to fully participate in AT& T's service offering after five one-year renewal options.

TEX-AN 2000 will be the state's single, centralized communication network and will service state and local government agencies. Public schools and universities, libraries and hospitals have the option to not use the new network, but most have signed on for TEX-AN 2000, said Steve Parker, director of telecommunications at the GSC. The GSC is responsible for providing telecommunications services, including voice and data information, for state agencies.

"State government represents the majority of the dollars rolling through, but of the 600 customers on the network today, about 58 percent are optional," Parker said. "The political subdivisions, whether they are small or large, get the same deal as the big agencies, and that's real attractive to those folks."

The voice part of the system will be put in place first, and that should begin within a month, with the data side expected to take significantly more time because of the immense amount of information to be included, Parker said.

AT& T will build an Asynchronous Transfer Mode and frame-delay data network, including technology from a number of vendors. The company also will provide state and local government agencies with integrated access to video and Internet services in addition to the voice and data applications.

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