Optical/IP Networks

GIG-BE Winners Named

The winners of the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE) project have been notified, and two sources -- one vendor involved in the GIG-BE bidding and one federal equipment consultant -- have told us who the winners are.

It looks like Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), and Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR) have gotten the biggest pieces of the pie. But there is enough wiggle room that secondary suppliers may also get some crumbs.

First, some background:

For GIG-BE, DISA asked for equipment in four major categories: core and edge Internet Protocol (IP) routers; multiservice provisioning platforms (MSPPs); optical transport systems (OTSs); and optical digital crossconnects (ODXCs).

The GIG-BE deal was expected to draw $800 million to $900 million over two years across all those equipment categories.

The RFP process has been overseen for DISA by Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) (which owns Telcordia Technologies Inc.) -- and it was a tough one (see DISA Deal D-Day Approaches). Vendors had 12 days from May 23 to ask questions about the RFP documents. Final responses were due within four weeks of that date. Vendors were called last night and told whether they made it, according to one source.

Equipment trials are expected to start this year -- and here's another twist: One source, the federal equipment contact, says DISA has already allocated $100 million to SAIC so that it could use some budgeted funds for the project before the government's fiscal year ends on September 30.

It's not clear how quickly SAIC will start funneling that money to the vendors.

Now here's what we've learned regarding who won in each equipment category:

  • Optical transport and switching:
    Ciena has beaten out Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV) and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), but it's likely the government will name a second supplier here.

  • Optical digital crossconnects:
    Sycamore has beaten both Ciena and Lucent. Our vendor source says pricing and discounting could have been a major factor.

  • MSPPs:
    Cisco won over Lucent here. Our sources can't say for sure how far Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (FNC) or Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) were in the process. And, again, a second supplier is likely in this category.

  • IP routers:
    Juniper has beaten Cisco in the core router portion, but our sources aren't sure what's happening at the edge. Cisco may have that piece sewn up, but neither of our sources could say with certainty.

What is for certain is that the vendors themselves won't be saying much about this on the record. "The RFP has a non-disclosure agreement built into the language," says one source. And the vendors Light Reading has reached so far have all said about the same thing.

Corvis previously disclosed its status in the GIG-BE proceedings but couldn't be swayed to talk on Thursday. "We can't comment," says Andy Backman, Corvis's VP of investor and public relations (see Corvis Solo in Bake-Off Boast).

Calls made to DISA officials on Thursday evening were not immediately returned.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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