Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes) has been awarded a new General Services Administration (GSA) Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) contract for a fully managed, global satellite network to support distance learning programs for the Government Education and Training Network (GETN).
The GETN community, a consortium of multiple agencies, has depended on Hughes to power its distance learning network across the U.S. and dozens of international sites, and this contract builds on the company’s commitment to deliver innovative network technology for the Federal Government.
The contract award, estimated at $15 million in total funding for up to five years, marks the third time Hughes has been selected to deliver the turnkey satellite broadcast network, which is expected to encompass 1,030+ downlink sites with one or more classrooms, five uplink sites, 21 broadcast studios, and 44 international sites. The Hughes team includes longtime subcontractor Convergent Media Systems to support installation, maintenance and content scheduling for the network.
GETN distributes its training content via HD interactive television (ITV: 1-way video, 2-way audio) with audio interaction achieved through a secure terrestrial audio conferencing system. This seamless, interoperable network allows user agencies to share video-based distance learning programs and common facilities.
Hughes will expand and continue to promote the use of interactive TV as a very cost-effective and instructionally sound medium for distance learning in a blended learning environment. Users report completing over 250,000 student training hours each year, resulting in a cost-avoidance in the tens of millions of annual training dollars through GETN. Under the contract, GETN will use HughesON managed broadband service at select sites, including wireline, wireless and satellite connectivity. As part of a managed service, the network solution will also enable agencies to utilize idle bandwidth from other GETN users to maximize network efficiency and performance.
GETN supports, among others, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United States Air Force (USAF), Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), Air National Guard (ANG), Defense Health Agency (DHA), and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Training applications over the network range from broadcasting videos of mock trials for judicial employees to instructor-led video discussions for air traffic controllers, medical personnel, civil engineers, acquisition professionals, and aircraft mechanics around the world.
Tony Bardo, Assistant VP of Government Solutions at Hughes, said that the company has supported GETN for 10 years and the firm values the opportunity to continue delivering a secure and reliable network for government agencies to train their global workforce. The GETN program exemplifies how to best harness the power of online organizational training for employees in dispersed locations while reducing or eliminating travel costs.