GSA program offers latest in satellite services

The General Services Administration has awarded contracts to 24 companies to provide federal agencies with satellite telecommunications services that can keep them connected when nothing else will work.

SATCOM II contract offers services that extend to areas across the country and around the globe where traditional networks and cellular links often fail, to support both handheld receivers and full broadband computer networks, according to GSA.

“Agencies have a presence globally, and SATCOM II will satisfy those agencies wherever they are,” said John Johnson, assistant commissioner for integrated technology services at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.

For example, he said the satellite service can help the Interior Department's communications in its remote field locations. The services may also help an agency's response to emergency situations, Johnson said.

"This is not to be thought of as a contract awarded in [Washington] D.C. for D.C., but rather a contract awarded by GSA in support of our agencies globally," he said.

Twenty four companies won SATCOM II awards, including nine small businesses. The contract, worth an estimated $750 million over five years, enables agencies to buy both services and related equipment. The program compliments other wireless services, such as cell phone services, said Jim Russo, SATCOM II program manager.

“We’re not only providing satellite communications today, but we’ve designed SATCOM II to keep pace with the phenomenal growth in satellite technology we expect over its five-year contract life,” said Jim Williams, FAS commissioner.

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