USPS awards $168M communications contract to Verizon

Tuesday - 1/10/2012, 2:49pm EST

The Postal Service has selected Verizon to build and run an internal communications network.

The Virginia-based company will receive $168 million over six years to build and manage a private Internet protocol network through which the agency will communicate with employees and keep tabs on operations.

Verizon already provides satellite services and videoconferencing for the agency, which will be supported by the network infrastructure under the new award, the company said in a press release.

"The Postal Service's operations are among the most far-reaching and complex in the world, and Verizon is helping them keep the mailing public connected every step of the way," said Susan Zeleniak, group president for Verizon Federal. "Whether it's tracking Express Mail, selling stamps on USPS.com or linking more than 31,000 postal facilities, we're delivering the communications backbone that helps keep the mail on time in a modern world."

The news comes amid pressure for the Postal Service to become a bigger player in the online communications market. Recently, the agency's inspector general proposed creating "eMailboxes."

The Postal Service's proposal to close post offices and shrink operations in order to close a projected $14.1 billion deficit has raised concerns among lawmakers and public regulators.

The Postal Service also recently awarded Maryland-based Aquilent a contract for an undisclosed amount to support USPS.com's daily operations.

Under the deal, Aquilent will provide a host of services, including technology-strategy development, project management, website information-architecture and content mapping, and usability testing and measurement.

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