Bad Weather Forces NOAA to Spend $311M on Modernizing Network

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AT&T (T) will deliver modern networking capabilities and other advanced technologies to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under a Task Order from NOAA valued at $311 million over 10 years. The Task Order was made under the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) program, which the government created to help federal agencies modernize their technology infrastructure.

NOAA wants to modernize and transform its networking technologies and lay the foundation for 5G and multi-access edge computing capabilities. Using EIS, NOAA is acquiring from AT&T networking infrastructure and advanced capabilities that can power its mission into the next decade.

The agency said the key reason it needs the added capabilities is the alarming rate at which weather events are impacting the U.S. The first nine months of 2020 was racked by 16 various billion-dollar disasters, a record-tying amount. NOAA is America’s environmental intelligence agency, responsible for daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring as well as fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce. Its products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of the Gross Domestic Product in the U.S.

“NOAA’s mission is highly data intensive requiring the most sophisticated advanced networking services commercially available,” said Chris Smith, Vice President-Civilian and Shared Services, AT&T Public Sector and FirstNet. “This Task Order award is testimony to our capability to deliver robust and reliable services at scale and manage them end-to-end to help government agencies like NOAA improve mission fulfillment.”

Under this agreement, AT&T plans to transform NOAA’s current networking model, moving from a multiple vendor environment to a single, seamless next-generation communications platform. This consolidation of networks onto a single IP-based network can help reduce network outage risks and improve network and application availability. 

The goal is to modernize NOAA’s networking services across the U.S. and international operations, including its headquarters and six offices. These include the National Weather Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Ocean Service, Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, and Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.  

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