NOAA 99-R243
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Susan Weaver
10/12/99

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SELECTS CONTRACTOR FOR NOAA WEATHER WIRE SERVICE

The National Weather Service has awarded a $20.9 million contract for the implementation of the NOAA Weather Wire Service to GTE Information Systems, LLC, of Chantilly, Va. The new network contains improved technology that will protect it from breakdowns in severe weather situations, and multiple layers of backup to ensure reliable operation in case of network failures.

The one-year contract has options for nine additional years and an estimated value of up to $20.9 million, with a contract ceiling of $29.4 million, based on the current planned implementation. This system will replace the current network, which has been in operation since 1989.

The NOAA Weather Wire Service is a reliable and timely means of disseminating information about severe weather and other hazards to emergency managers and other key decision makers, and to the public through media and the Internet.

"This award represents an important part of the National Weather Service's commitment to issuing efficient, reliable, and timely forecasts, watches and warnings," said John J. Kelly Jr., director of the National Weather Service. "Helping to save lives is our top priority."

In addition to providing improved technology and backup protection in the new network, GTE will maintain the Weather Service's current high standards, which require the network to deliver 99.8 percent of all warnings to the end user in less than 30 seconds, and 98 percent within 10 seconds. The system will also permit data to be accessed by a wide range of users to encourage private industry to provide weather information, especially weather warnings, by different means such as telephone circuit networks, satellite systems, broadcast media and the Internet, at a reasonable cost.