Qwest Communications was one of three telecommunications companies picked to bid on the biggest-ever government contract, worth $48 billion. The General Services Administration selected Qwest, AT&T and Verizon for its highly anticipated Networx Universal contract to provide voice, wireless and Internet services to 135 federal agencies.
The big question is whether traditional telecoms as a whole have any kind of moat when it comes to large contracts. With upstarts like GigaBeam (GGBM) deploying WiFiber networks left and right (including contracts with ING, Google, and, yes, the DoD), it won't be long before corporate behemoths start looking beyond the big four to find the lowest bidder. The limits of the electromagnetic spectrum are continually being pushed to allow for all the bandwidth of fiber optics with none of the infrastructure. WiFiber is currently proprietary, but there's more than one way to skin that cat. Just one of these networks can provide T1-level bandwidth (did someone say wireless VoIP?) to a small city, with initial equipment costs in the six-figure range. I'll refrain from tossing around dot-com analogies, but I fully expect to see rampaging hordes of WWAN providers feverishly staking their geographic and electromagnetic claims around the world before this decade is out. Telecom is still anybody's game.
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