New $750M award replaces existing GSA satellite services

The General Services Administration has awarded Satcom II contracts to 24 communications companies, including nine small business contractors, to provide next-generation, worldwide satellite services to federal civilian and defense agencies.

The five-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract has an estimated value of $750 million and replaces the existing GSA Satellite Services program.

The Satcom II system will allow federal workers to use hand-held receivers similar to cell phones, as well as access full broadband computer networks, anywhere in the world. It is designed for use in areas where no phone or cable lines exist and to help federal workers fight wilderness wildfires, patrol remote borders and rescue the trapped and injured from hurricanes or tornadoes.

The system also makes possible broadcast services in distance learning for federal customers throughout the world, said John Johnson, assistant commissioner in the Federal Acquisition Service's Office of Integrated Technology Services.

'Satcom II offers GSA customers a special small business set-aside component for satellite professional support services and an innovative modification process that will allow agencies to stay ahead of the technology curve,' he said. GSA believes a niche satellite service is in the best interests of the government and supports customers' needs, he added.

Johnson said the recently announced Networx contract was deliberately designed with a satellite provision so agencies can craft an integrated end-to-end solution using satellite technology just as they would for any broadband technology solution.

Under the new Satcom II contract, agencies will be able to select the services, equipment and maintenance programs they want, said Jim Russo, program manager for Satcom II at GSA. It also offers competitive pricing throughout the life of the contract, as well as flexible ordering and billing.

'We're hopeful that the contracts we are awarding today will attract agencies based on the services that are offered,' Johnson said, adding that agency participation in the Satcom II contract is not mandatory.

'This is one in another set of offerings that we provide to our customers to complement the portfolio that we currently manage,' he said. 'And we believe that it will attract some business because it is an improvement over what we've had in the past.'

The large contractors are Americom Government Services Inc.; Arrowhead Global Solutions Inc.; Artel, Inc.; AT&T Corp.; DRS Technical Services; EDS Corp.; Global Communications Solutions Inc.; Hughes Network Systems LLC; Intelsat General Corp.; Mackay Communications Inc.; Segovia Inc.; Stratos Mobile Network Inc.; Telecommunications Systems Inc.; Telenor Satellite Services and ViaSat Inc.

The small business awardees are CVG Inc.; DasNet Corp.; E&E Enterprises Global; Knight Sky Consulting and Associates LLC; New Orleans Teleport Inc.; Psi Systems Inc.; RiteNet Corp.; Satellite Communication Systems Inc. and Skjei Telecom Inc.

David Hubler writes for Washington Technology, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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