WorldCom wins DREN contract

WorldCom wins DREN contract

The Defense Information Systems Agency yesterday awarded the long-awaited Defense Research and Engineering Network contract to WorldCom Inc.

Under the contract, estimated to be worth $70 million over three years, WorldCom will build a high-performance network to connect more than 6,000 Defense Department scientists and engineers at supercomputing labs, test centers and colleges across the country.

DREN will serve as the backbone for DOD's High-Performance Computing Modernization Program, letting scientists conduct complex modeling and simulation operations and share vast quantities of data quickly.

The DREN contracting process proved complex. Last summer the award went to Global Crossing Ltd., a Bermuda telecommunications firm that later declared bankruptcy. The other bidders'AT&T Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver, Sprint Communications Corp and WorldCom'protested the award.

DISA voided the deal and issued a new request for proposals last fall. It began accepting bids in December, planned to issue the contract Jan. 25, delayed the award to March 4, then sought a second extension to this month.

A WorldCom release said the carrier will deliver a network that can handle high-bandwidth applications such as IP multicasting and next-generation IP packets. The network will support both native asynchronous transfer mode and IP traffic, giving DOD the flexibility to create a distributed supercomputing system.

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