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GSA renews satellite-based training network contract

The General Services Administration renewed its contract with satellite communications provider Hughes Network Systems for distance learning through the Government Education and Training Network. GETN is a network of eight federal agencies that share satellite technology, facilities, and distance learning programs. Agencies save money by consolidating bandwidth and sharing programming over the same satellite space segment.

Under the task order, Hughes will provide a one-way video and two-way audio network for GETN users via broadband satellite, including satellite capacity, project management, COMSATCOM engineering system design, configuration, installation, training, maintenance and helpdesk support. Students in agencies in all 50 states and the Caribbean will be able to interact and communicate with instructors on the network.

The network solution, which uses Hughes broadband satellite technology to broadcast compressed digital video and audio programs, supports viewer response systems, including audio conferencing and integrated voice and data response. The system also accommodates agency requirements for interactive television, streaming video to the desktop, large file transfers and encrypted video, according to the company.

GETN broadcasts approximately 10,000 hours per year, with 12 digital Ku-band satellite uplink broadcast centers reaching over 2,300 fixed-dish downlink sites.

Courses in the program are agency-based and can cover topics from medical training and aircraft maintenance to contract management. The network also supports panel discussions, guest speakers and agency meetings where speakers address thousands of employees in conference rooms at several hundred sites nationwide.

GETN was developed by the Government Alliance for Training & Education by Satellite, a 1995 spinoff of the DOD’s Total Force Distance Learning Action Team, now known as the Total Force Advanced Distributed Learning Action Team. While TFADLAT focuses on DOD Web-based distance learning, GETN’s scope includes all government agencies, with a focus on cost-effective satellite delivery of distance learning.

GSA awarded Hughes the four-and-a-half-year contract through its Custom Satellite Communication Solutions contract vehicle, which includes base and option years. 

Agencies and departments on GETN include the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Justice, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, National Indian Programs Training Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Energy, U.S. Courts and the Federal Judicial Center & U.S. Sentencing Commission.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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