Lumen bags $1.5B DoD contract despite Verizon challenge

Lumen Technologies overcame an award challenge from Verizon to bag a $1.5 billion deal with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), teeing it up to provide Indo-Pacific transport services including internet, Ethernet and wavelengths services.

As part of the 10-year contract, Lumen says it will provide a network infrastructure backbone to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, a combatant command that integrates U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps forces within the Asia Pacific region – which comprises 36 countries.

The contract, awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense, represents new business for the operator.

Initially, Lumen was set to work on the contract from August 21, 2022, to August 30, 2032. A Lumen representative told Fierce the contract’s term now runs from October 3, 2022, to October 2, 2032, with a six-month extension available.

"We're delivering the always-on network infrastructure so the U.S. Department of Defense can focus on its mission to enhance the stability of the Asia Pacific region, promote security cooperation with our allies and partners, respond to emerging situations, deter aggression and if necessary, fight to win,” said Zain Ahmed, SVP of Lumen’s public sector, in a statement.

The Department of Defense first announced the award back in August. However, Verizon filed a challenge with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) against Lumen’s contract. Verizon declined to comment on why it filed the challenge, but the operator scored a $28.3 million deal with the U.S. Navy in that same time period.

Prior to the DISA task order, Lumen acquired a $137 million contract to revamp U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s network. That contract was awarded under the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) program. In January, Lumen secured a $1.2 billion EIS deal to overhaul the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s network, including the integration of SD-WAN services.

The EIS telecom contract award cycle is winding down. The GSA has said all government agencies are required to have transitioned their old Networx, WITS3 and Local Telecommunications contracts to EIS by September 30, 2022.

As of August 31, the GSA said 96.1% of relevant task orders had been awarded. The GSA report indicates the Department of Homeland Security and Government Accountability Office are among the government agencies with outstanding task orders. It added that thus far, 104 agencies have completed the transition from services provided under old contracts to new EIS-sourced services.