State Dept. Calls Qwest

When Colin Powell needs to zip a data or video file to embassy official on the other side of the globe, it will be up to Qwest Communications’ to get it there.

Under a new deal, the Denver telecom giant will provide services — including high-speed video, data, ATM and Internet protocol offerings — for U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.

The contract, administered through the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Telecommunications Service Program Office (DTSPO), could be worth as much as $360 million over 10 years.

It will be completed with subcontractor partners Comsat General (a division of Lockheed Martin) and Communications Technologies.

“The federal government is an important customer to Qwest and we look forward to helping DTSPO build a next-generation global infrastructure,” said James F.X. Payne, a Qwest senior vice president and general manager.

Among Qwest’s other federal goverment customers are the Department of Energy, NASA, the Department of Treasury and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last week, Qwest notched another public sector contract, albeit at the state level. The company signed a deal to provide voice, data and video services for Oklahoma’s statewide network.

Dubbed OneNet, the system links public schools, colleges and universities, libraries, government offices, courts and health care facilities throughout the state.

Qwest, which serves 14 western states, is looking to right itself in 2003. After an accounting probe last year, the company restated earnings from 1999 to 2001, slicing off nearly $1.1 billion of transactions.

The company had incorrectly accounted for sales of optical capacity assets as well as some equipment transactions. The revelations forced out CEO Joseph Naccio.

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