September 1, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/FOTOGRIN

China’s global moves to gain technological hegemony over 5G and reshape the Internet to suit its own needs offer the potential to give the Middle Kingdom control over the telecommunications market and information itself. At the very least, it would achieve market dominance. But at most, it would control both the nature of the Internet and the information that flows through it, say Internet experts.

July 2, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
Credit: Shutterstock/AlexLMX

Third of a multipart series.

The seeds of future telecommunications are being planted in China. But the question remains, will they take root globally?

China’s cyber policy has both economic and political sides to it. On the economic side, flooding the global market with subsidized Chinese-made technologies offers the chance for major financial rewards as this equipment and its services become ubiquitous. On the political side, introducing Chinese standards to the Internet and cellular service will give the nation control over both services and data.

June 3, 2020
By Julianne Simpson

Diana Gowen, a legend in the government telecommunications industry and an active member of the AFCEA Budget and Finance Committee, passed away May 28 after a long battle with cancer. 

October 25, 2019

Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) will provide priority telecommunications services (PTS) to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under a new contract with the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Emergency Communications Division (ECD), the company stated in an October 25 announcement. The single-award contract was awarded to CSRA LLC, a managed affiliate of GDIT. The value of the contract is capped at $325 million and includes a base period of one year with four one-year options. “We are honored to continue our journey supporting DHS’ next-generation telecommunications,” said Vice President Brian Michl, general manager of GDIT’s DHS Sector.

May 29, 2019

DRS Global Enterprise Solutions Inc., Dulles, Virginia, was awarded a competitive single-award blanket purchase agreement (GS-35F-0148S / HC101319A0003) for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Deployed Operations telecommunication program. The total cumulative face value of the blanket purchase agreement is $977,000,000 (ceiling amount). Quotations were solicited via the General Services Administration's Information Technology Schedule 70, and one quotation was received from 39 quotations solicited. Performance will be at Headquarters USSOCOM, Florida.

April 9, 2019

Telecommunications company CenturyLink, Inc. recently won a contract to provide network services to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under a task order as part of the General Services Administration's Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) program, the company reported. ​As part of the effort, CenturyLink will provide core backbone network connectivity to NASA at speeds up to 100 Gbps. CenturyLink became the first supplier to receive authority to operate under GSA's 15-year, $50 billion EIS program last month, enabling it to be eligible for EIS task order awards.

September 1, 2018
By George I. Seffers
The Deep Space Optical Communications system will be launched into space in 2022 on the Psyche spacecraft, which will explore a massive metallic asteroid. The research program may eventually contribute to a laser communications infrastructure around the red planet. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University/Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin

In the coming months, researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory expect to take a series of small steps that will ultimately result in a giant leap in laser-enabled Mars telecommunication capabilities. Their technological progress will contribute to a telecommunications infrastructure around the planet that will support both human and robotic expeditions.

Mars is expected to be a veritable hotbed of activity in the relatively near future. NASA’s InSight lander is scheduled to touch down in November to study the planet’s deep interior using seismology and various sensors. The planet also is drawing commercial interest. SpaceX plans to land its Red Dragon spacecraft in 2020.

November 27, 2017
By Tony Bardo
The new generation of network solutions associated with the EIS contract vehicle will benefit all involved—the agencies, the vendors and the taxpayers. Credit: chombosan/Shutterstock

After analyzing lessons learned from a delay-riddled transition to Networx, where a 33-month long process resulted in a costly overrun of about $395 million, the General Services Administration (GSA) came well prepared to make the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract transition a much smoother process.

August 3, 2017
A U.S. Marine trains at Range 10 at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii. Next year, the Defense Information Systems Agency will upgrade telecommunications for military forces in Hawaii.

U.S. Defense Department personnel stationed in Hawaii will experience less latency and more communication features with the implementation of the Pacific Enterprise Services–Hawaii (PES-HI) Program in 2018.

PES-HI, which will be managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), will upgrade legacy analog communications to an almost-Everything over Internet Protocol (IP) technology base, according to a DISA announcement. Improvements include enterprise services, such as Voice and Video over Internet Protocol and web conferencing as well as collaboration services, including chat and presence.

April 28, 2015

AT&T Technical Services Co. Inc., Herndon, Virginia, was awarded a ceiling $43,587,859 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract for temporary telecommunications services in support of the Defense Information Systems Agency. Work will be performed at locations throughout the continental U.S., with an estimated completion date of April 30, 2016. If all options are exercised, the estimated completion date will be April 30, 2020. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $3,000 will be obligated on the first task order to satisfy the minimum guarantee. Bids were solicited through the Internet, and one proposal was received.

June 2, 2014

Verizon Business Network Services Incorporated, Ashburn, Virginia, was awarded a $10,567,483 firm-fixed-price contract for the priority telecommunication service to support the Department of Homeland Security Office of Emergency Communications. This contract has a nine-month base period and nine one-year option periods. If all options are exercised, the total cumulative contract value is $81,027,515. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO), Scott Air Force Base, Illinois is the contracting activity (HC1013-14-C-0002).

May 15, 2014

Long Wave Incorporated, Oklahoma City (N39430-14-D-1422); SiteMaster Incorporated, Tulsa, Oklahoma (N39430-14-D-1423); and Shape Construction Incorporated, Bremerton, Washington (N39430-14-D-1424), are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract for construction services for specialized antennas, towers, and communication facilities at Navy installations worldwide. The maximum dollar value including the base period and two option periods for all three contracts combined is $45,000,000.

January 11, 2013
George I. Seffers

CENTECH Group, Falls Church, Va., is being awarded an $11,274,760 firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for operation and maintenance services of base telecommunications systems. The 99th Contracting Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., is the contracting activity. 

June 15, 2012
By George Seffers

Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions Division, Manassas, Virginia, was awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that includes a mix of firm-fixed-price, fixed-price with incentive, cost-plus-incentive-fee, and cost-plus and fixed-fee pricing plans. The contract is for worldwide support services necessary to carry out the day-to-day operations of Global Information Grid networks and related services, and to sustain the existing network and subsequent technology enhancement. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $1,911,000,000. The performance period includes a base period of performance of three years, from July 9, 2012 through July 8, 2015, and two two-year option periods, for a total

November 30, 2010
By George Seffers

SBC Global Services Incorporated, Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded a $7 million contract to provide consolidated telecommunications services to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme, California. The Port Hueneme Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center is the contracting activity.

January 2006
By Maryann Lawlor

April 1999
By Michelle L. Hankins

Telecommunications giant builds network to integrate voice, data and video capabilities.

April 1999
By Michelle L. Hankins

Telecommunications firm extends connectivity to rural communities, federal agencies and military facilities.

April 1999
By Mark H. Kagan

Growing variety of services meets the challenge of orbital networking.

The plethora of satellite communications options now available to ground-based users has induced one company to offer its customers a wide range of products and capabilities. This market-driven strategy addresses a growing trend in which satellite users face an expanding and confusing variety of services and providers.

July 1999
By Maryann Lawlor

Next-generation communications technology employs existing infrastructure, reduces business travel.

The same wires that carry voice transmissions to individual telephones within an organization are now delivering data, television-quality video and stereo-quality sound directly to the desktop. This allows businesses and agencies to provide multipoint videoconferencing, video-broadcast and video-on-demand capabilities to employees without installing additional infrastructures or overloading existing information technology components or networks.

April 2000
By Clarence A. Robinson, Jr.

Nifty software tool automates federal agency spectrum assignment applications, avoids overlap, interference.

Powerful forces of private-sector competition and an onslaught of technical advances are propelling the United States into a telecommunications renaissance era. In every sector—wireless, wireline, local and long distance, video and Internet—more services are being delivered at lower prices and higher bandwidth.

April 2000
By Maryann Lawlor

Customer service becomes a key deciding factor as consumers are offered more provider options.

April 2000
By Maryann Lawlor

Software turns gigabytes into megabytes, allows users to view kilobytes at a time.

As militaries, governments and businesses continue to struggle with the obstacles posed by bandwidth limitations, scientists in industry and research laboratories are improving compression technologies to allow high-quality images and text to be sent to the desktop—or palmtop—with phenomenal speed. The proposition is simple: Until scientists design a way to make the communications pipelines larger, engineers must make the volume of data smaller.

March 2001
By Christian B. Sheehy

An all-optical switching platform brings added flexibility to ease constraints on connectivity.

A new type of optical networking software will enable bandwidths of light to be redistributed in response to fluctuating data traffic. The technology allows individual streams of photons to be moved when and where they are needed, ensuring greater network reliability and near real-time communication.

March 2001
By Henry S. Kenyon

Regulatory differences heat up trans-Atlantic telecommunications talks.

As the United States and the European Union begin to implement policies designed to open their markets to foreign competition, issues such as wireless spectrum allocation, telephone interconnections and Internet access continue to vex negotiations. While both parties understand the importance of free trade and cooperation, these differences may impede bilateral trade liberalization and deregulation.

April 2002
By Henry S. Kenyon

A potentially groundbreaking capability has strings attached.

After considerable interagency debate, the U.S. government has approved ultrawideband radio technology for commercial use. Ultrawideband devices operate across a wide spectrum range instead of a specific frequency. This allows for more efficient spectrum use at lower power levels and presents a possible solution for bandwidth-starved wireless providers. Other applications include ground-penetrating radar, imaging, surveillance and medical systems. However, issues such as possible interference with navigation and commercial aviation systems must be resolved before the technology gains wider acceptance.

April 2002
By Robert K. Ackerman

Spread spectrum, digital processing allow more bytes for the buck.

The Internet protocol revolution is reaching satellite video communications with a new system that permits transmitting tens of thousands of channels over a single orbital transponder. Users can leapfrog existing satellite video limitations with two-way virtual private networks that can carry streaming video without a hitch.

April 2002
By Maryann Lawlor

Collaboration, cooperation secure emergency response capability.

Although industry shoulders the ultimate responsibility for the health and well-being of the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure, the federal government is working to ensure the continued operation of systems that touch almost every aspect of life—from emergency services to economic stability. Key among the government’s concerns are the security and reliability of the systems on which national security and emergency preparedness depend.

March 2003
By Robert K. Ackerman

Mobile calling for emergency response is up and running.

Emergency responders now can count on priority cellular access in a pinch as the U.S. government establishes a wireless version of its Government Emergency Telecommunications Service. Known as the Wireless Priority System, or WPS, the new cellular system promises connectivity in a shirt pocket for authorized users ranging from the president down to a local fire chief.

Marach 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

New applications permit data, message sharing between communications protocols.

Manufacturers are poised to release new equipment that will permit universal roaming for cellular telephone and mobile devices. Recent processor and software developments are leading to products that can operate across different global communications protocols.

March 2003
By Henry S. Kenyon

Glimmer of hope shines through the gloom as firms deal with management, capacity issues.

The telecommunications industry will see minimal growth this year in the wake of several large corporate bankruptcies and massive network overcapacity. Major issues such as mismanagement must be addressed to regain the trust of shareholders and government oversight agencies, analysts say. Sales of hardware will lag behind services as disillusionment settles in about the industry’s performance. But a silver lining remains—the continuing growth of services such as broadband and wireless messaging.