NOAA’s $311M EIS award will pave the way for 5G

The Next Generation Weather Radar in the Santa Cruz mountains of California. (Getty Images)

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to prepare for 5G and edge computing with a $311 million contract awarded to AT&T on Tuesday.

A 10-year task order under the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract, which helps agencies modernize their IT infrastructure, the agreement will consolidate NOAA‘s networks into one Internet Protocol-based network.

Consolidating limits the risk of network outages, a challenge NOAA experienced while supplying environmental intelligence on 16 disasters in the first nine months of 2020 that cost billions of dollars in damages.

“Telecommunications is vital to NOAA’s missions,” said CIO Zachary Goldstein in the announcement. “Moving to Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions is key to modernizing our telecommunications and continuing to advance our service to the American people.”

The task order covers networking across all of NOAA’s international operations: 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.

AT&T begins work immediately delivering unified communications, virtual private networking, IP-based wireless and wireline networking, and joint security management. NOAA’s speed of data transmission is expected to improve and with it weather forecasting, climate monitoring and ultimately the U.S. economy.

“NOAA’s mission is highly data intensive requiring the most sophisticated advanced networking services commercially available,” Chris Smith, vice president of civilian and shared services at AT&T Public Sector, in a statement.

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5G, AT&T, edge computing, EIS, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Zachary Goldstein
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