Commerce rewiring for e-gov

Commerce's Commits business opportunities page

The Commerce Department is forging ahead with a key program that will help spur its e-government initiatives.

The department has released for comment its design to rewire the Herbert Hoover Building with fiber-optic cables. The renovation at Commerce headquarters will replace a mix of old and new systems and multiple local-area networks with a single managed infrastructure.

Building a high-speed fiber-optic backbone to carry voice and data communications is really the keystone to the department's plan to become an all-digital department by 2002, said Karen Hogan, who heads the Digital Department program and is acting deputy chief information officer at Commerce.

"What it means is that we can, at least within the building, have a single infrastructure and communicate with each other," Hogan said. "It puts the tenants of this building into a mode that is equal to other bureaus," such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also enables employees to share applications and is the foundation for a new department Intranet.

A little less than a year ago, the department unveiled its Digital Department plan, which includes:

Building a secure intranet for Commerce employees worldwide. Web-enabling internal finance, procurement and IT investment analysis systems. Fixing problems with interoperable e-mail systems. Commerce received $4 million in its fiscal 2001 budget to accomplish the headquarters rewiring. It anticipates releasing a solicitation for the project in the spring and using its Commerce Information Technology Solutions (Commits) program, a governmentwide services contract designed specifically for small businesses.

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