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Happy Call for Level 3

The telco gets invited to bid on a big federal project.

Level 3 (LVLT) got a call up to the bigs.

The Broomfield, Colo., phone service wholesaler was one of five telcos chosen by the U.S. General Services Administration to be eligible for some $20 billion in federal IT networking contracts.

Also making the list are phone giants


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and, this time around,


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, which was

snubbed in an earlier bakeoff for telecom service work. The inclusion of Level 3 in the supplier pool marks a significant sales opportunity for the network operator.

The project, called Networx Enterprise, hopes to "transform the current federal telecommunications system to a modern, secure, worldwide IP and MPLS-based network compliant with Internet Protocol version 6," according to the GSA. In other words, the five contractors will vie for slots on major computer network upgrades within federal agencies.

Level 3 shares were down 2 cents to $5.89 in midday trading Thursday.