Defense Department to connect itself via $750 million contract for a high-speed fiber-optic network

CenturyLink wins Defense Research & Engineering Network III contract

Better known for its commercial telephone and Internet service, CenturyLink is moving in a big way into the defense world with a $750 million contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to provide a high-speed fiber-optic network that connects the Defense Department’s supercomputers and researchers at speeds ranging from 50 megabits to 100 gigabits per second.

Under the 10-year Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) III contract sponsored by the DoD’s High Performance Computing Modernization Program, CenturyLink will supply Ethernet, Internet Protocol and optical wave services through a virtual private local area network service that will link defense scientists and engineers at research institutions, laboratories and test facilities at more than 150 DoD locations nationwide.

DREN is a national test bed to accelerate the development and deployment of ultra-high-speed bandwidth applications, networking and security, and DREN III will work toward accelerating these network advancements.

"We're excited by the new capabilities DREN III will provide the defense research and test communities," said Reed Mosher, director of the Information Technology Laboratory at the Army Engineer Research and Development Center, as quoted in a CenturyLink press release. "Robust connectivity, enabling collaboration among world-class scientists and engineers, will result in fielding new and enhanced warfighting capabilities in record time."

Diana Gowen, CenturyLink senior vice president and general manager, said in the press statement: "CenturyLink will provide a unique environment with seamless communications to DREN III that will facilitate user access and enable scientific collaboration throughout the network. CenturyLink's solution will make DREN III a research network environment rather than a network that just transports research data."

CenturyLink previously won a multi-year task order from DISA under the General Services Administration's Networx program, valued at more than $250 million, to provide private line services for dedicated high-speed connections between military installations.

About the Author

Barry Rosenberg is editor-in-chief of Defense Systems. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryDefense.

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