AT&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 US$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,” AT&T said in a release. “Using EIS, NOAA is acquiring from AT&T networking infrastructure and advanced capabilities that can power its mission well into the next decade.”

A key reason the agency needs the capabilities, it added, is the alarming rate at which weather events are impacting the U.S. The first nine months of 2020 brought a record-tying 16 different billion-dollar disasters.

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.

Under the agreement, AT&T said it will transform NOAA's current networking model, moving from a multiple vendor environment to a single communications platform.

“The consolidation of networks onto a single IP-based network can help reduce network outage risks and improve network and application availability. AT&T's network modernization effort for NOAA is comprehensive. We will modernize NOAA's networking services across the breadth of its U.S. Territories and international operations including its headquarters and six line offices.”

These include the National Weather Service (NWS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Ocean Service (NOS), Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), and Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO).  

We will deliver advanced technologies including unified communications, virtual private networking, IP-based wireless and wireline networking. With NOAA, we will manage this network and its security services. We expect our network capabilities will enhance the speed of data transmission across NOAA's organizations and support task efficiencies in everyday operations such as communications and weather data collection, sharing, analysis and publishing. Ultimately, our advanced technologies will support the entirety of NOAA's mission, shared across the NOAA workforce who will be using them to help keep the public informed of the changing environment around them: from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor.

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

Paul Barker