FAA taps Harris for telecom overhaul

FAA taps Harris for telecom overhaul

The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded a five-year, $1.7 billion contract to Harris Corp. to modernize and manage the telecommunications infrastructure for air traffic control.

Under the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure contract, the Melbourne, Fla., company will work with the agency to phase out old communications systems and replace them with a backbone provider responsible for operating and maintaining the FTI network.

If FAA exercises all options under the performance-based contract, the FTI deal could run 15 years and be worth $3.5 billion.

The backbone network will provide voice, data and video services and replace FAA-owned multiplexing and switching networks, as well as other telecom services leased from multiple providers.

'FTI is a critical element of our overall plan to modernize the national airspace system,' FAA administrator Jane F. Garvey said.

FAA officials estimate that it will take five to six years for FTI to absorb the services and systems now provided under existing contracts.

The new network will support FAA, Defense Department and Coast Guard air traffic facilities, connecting 5,000 locations over 14,000 separate connections and replacing more than 30,000 circuits.

Harris bested Lockheed Martin Corp. and WorldCom Inc. to win FTI.

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