Defense seeks bandwidth-busting vendor

The Defense Department on Friday issued a solicitation that brass said will let the department take the next step in expanding bandwidth to users DOD-wide.

The Defense Information Systems Agency released a request for proposals for a switched optical network that will support 10-Gbps, OC-192 connections for the Global Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion program. Through GIG-BE, DISA plans to roll out a ground-based voice, data and image backbone to expand the availability of high-capacity bandwidth to DOD users worldwide.

DOD estimates it will spend $877 million on GIG-BE, which initially will serve 90 sites around the world and ultimately users throughout DOD, Defense CIO John Stenbit has said.

DISA issued a series of functional specifications required for the fiber-optic cable to be used for GIG-BE. The winning vendor will have to establish fiber service delivery points as well as oversee network management, information and physical security, and commercial transport leases.

The department said it might award as many as nine contracts or combine services under a single contract. It expects whatever contracts it awards to run for 10 years, with a two-year base period and eight one-year options. Bids are due April 8. Earlier, DISA had said it wanted to begin rolling out GIG-BE later this year.

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