WorldCom gets 10-year contract with US State Dept.

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WorldCom Inc. has landed a 10-year contract to provide data communications services to the U.S. Department of State, the company said Thursday.

The contract, worth up to US$360 million over the 10 years, is to provide IP (Internet Protocol) and ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) services over international private lines and satellite links to State Department facilities worldwide, a company statement said.

The agreement, known as Spectrum, also makes WorldCom a preferred provider for future State Department communication contracts, the statement said.

WorldCom has had an off-and-on relationship with the U.S. federal government this year.

In July, the company lost a $1.7 billion contract with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority to run its telecommunications infrastructure.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into WorldCom's finances led to speculation that the company would be barred from doing business with the U.S. government by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which regulates many government contracts. That uncertainty came to an end in November when the GSA renewed a contract with WorldCom to provide telecommunications services and announced that it would bar two former executives of WorldCom from doing business with the government, but not the company itself.

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