Verizon opens network center for feds

Verizon has opened a network operations center dedicated to its federal government customers. The center, nestled within the company's sprawling campus in Ashburn, Va., supports managed network services.

Jerry Edgerton, group president of Verizon Federal, said the center is a sign of the changing demands on telecommunications providers.

"We used to be in the phone business," he said. "We used to be in the data business." Now Verizon and its competitors are expected to offer such services as secure remote access for teleworkers, data protection and recovery and secure multimedia collaboration, he said.

Verizon’s Government Network Operations and Security Center "is an embodiment of our commitment to the government," Edgerton said.

It also embodies the company’s desire to win a place on Networx, the sweeping governmentwide contract that the General Services Administration will award next year. Networx, which will succeed the expiring FTS 2001 contract, includes support for new technologies such as voice over IP and IPv6.

Ramon Sam, group manager of government managed services at Verizon Federal, said the center's features were designed to meet government specifications. "The center was built to support the Networx program," Sam said.

AT&T and MCI, which merged with Verizon in 2005, were the original holders of FTS 2001.

The center’s features include redundancies to eliminate single points of failure, and support for separate local-area network connections so that agencies don't have to channel their data through the same cables as other agencies.

"What makes this [center] a little different is that for the first time we've layered the network and security together," said Fred Briggs, executive vice president of global network operations and technology for Verizon Business. Verizon Federal is a unit of Verizon Business.

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