Were it not for the CenturyLink/ Qwest merger, I suspect today’s announcement headlined “CenturyLink Wins Order to Connect Military Installations,” would have the Qwest name instead. The deal, valued at more than $250 million, calls for CenturyLink to provide private line services for dedicated high-speed connections between military installations. The award was made by the Defense Information Systems Agency/ Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DISA/DITCO), a Department of Defense combat support agency.
Considering how long it typically takes to get a government contract approved, the role that the Qwest nationwide backbone will have in supporting the contract and considering that it was only eight months ago that the merger was completed, the DISA/DITCO bid almost certainly originated on the Qwest side of the house. The contract win is an excellent example of what motivated CenturyLink to merge with Qwest in the first place. With its traditional residential service base eroding, CenturyLink—like other telcos without a national wireless network—is putting increased emphasis on the enterprise market, including businesses and government organizations.
As today’s announcement notes, the merger with Qwest made CenturyLink “a major provider of communications services to the military through other DISA/DITCO contract programs, including Internet protocol services and the Defense Information Systems Network Access Transport Services.”
The contract calls for CenturyLink to deliver “secure and robust” private line services at rates from DS-0 to OC-768. According to the press release, when the five-year contract is fully implemented in 2012, CenturyLink will provide private line services to all DOD agencies, including the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy.
“CenturyLink will deploy its optical network infrastructure to deliver highly reliable and capable private line services to support the critical and growing needs of our Defense customers,” said Diana Gowen, senior vice president and general manager of CenturyLink Government, in today’s announcement. “CenturyLink’s private line services have extensive geographic coverage that will ensure fast, direct and secure communications between U.S. military bases, posts, camps and stations.”