WorldCom wins controversial Pentagon network contract

Jerry Edgerton

After months of delay, the Defense Information Systems Agency on April 4 selected WorldCom Inc. of Clinton, Miss., for the 10-year, $450 million Defense Research and Engineering Network.

"DREN presents one of the most valuable technologically-driven networking initiatives in DoD and requires a network that meets the highest levels of reliability, availability and integrity," said Jerry Edgerton, WorldCom senior vice president for government markets.

The DREN network, which provides long-haul communication service for the Defense Department's high-performance computing modernization program, has been the source of much controversy. It was awarded in July 2001 to Global Crossing LLC, Hamilton, Bermuda, but DISA withdrew the award less than two weeks later after all four of the losing bidders filed protests.

AT&T Corp. of New York City, Sprint Communications Corp., Westwood, Kan., and Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver also had competed for the contract.

The five companies recompeted for DREN, but DISA twice requested bid extensions ? in January and February ? and asked the companies to provide additional financial information before the decision was made.

The contract announcement made by DISA said an estimated $70 million in orders will be issued during the three-year base period of the contract, which has a $450 million ceiling over its 10-year life.

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