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FEMA to extend contract with On Call Communications for satellite connectivity

In order to be able to maintain satellite connectivity at disaster sites, even when the local telecommunications infrastructure has been destroyed or compromised, FEMA wants to extend an existing contract it has with On Call Communications, of Foothill Ranch, CA, for an extra three months at an additional cost of $450,000.

FEMA had hoped to “transition” from a contract with On Call to a new contract with Knight Sky, LLC, of Frederick, MD, but delays in turning over Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) trucks to Knight Sky, and Knight Sky’s difficulty passing its communications through DHS firewalls, made it impossible to complete the transition in a timely manner, FEMA explained in a notice it released on November 5.

“These services are mission essential and must be available on a 24/7/365 basis with maintenance support in the form of troubleshooting, faulty equipment replacement and on-site support, as required,” says the notice.

FEMA explained that during a declared disaster, surge circuits cost about $25,000 per circuit per month. (During Hurricane Sandy, for example, FEMA activated about 78 satellite channels through the On Call contract.)

The performance period for the extension award to On Call will run from November 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014.

“Portable and mobile VSAT systems are used to provide this vital information to the decision makers in the rear,” says the FEMA notice. “The requirement to have communications is urgent and compelling to support our disaster recovery efforts.”

Further information is available from Shelby Nicole Schuller at 202-646-1902 or Nicole.Schuller@fema.dhs.gov.



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