National Guard Selects SkyPort International and iDirect As Satellite Solution for Emergency Response Communications System

National Guard Selects SkyPort International and iDirect As Satellite Solution for Emergency Response Communications System
New Technology Will Be a Critical Link In The Homeland Security Response Capability

9.15.2004

HERNDON, Va. -- September, 2004 -- SkyPort International and iDirect Technologies today announced that the National Guard has selected their joint satellite solution to provide an emergency communications network to National Guard teams designed to assist civilian agencies during crisis management events and terrorist threats. These teams, known as CERFP (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear or High Yield Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package), will support civilian first-responder teams around the country. The satellite networks deployed to these teams will provide a high speed Internet Protocol (IP) network supporting secure voice, video and broadband data in the event of loss or degradation of landline communication networks.

The National Guard contract calls for multiple fixed and/or mobile satellite links at 33 initial sites around the country. As backup to terrestrial communications, this satellite network will re-connect various agencies including the National Guard, City and State Emergency Management Agencies, and Federal DHS resources. The complete deployed solution will utilize the SkyPort network, and iDirect's Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) technology, to support enterprise-class connectivity for IP based services such as video, data, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and internet access. This VSAT network can provide data at speeds from 64 kbps to 4.2 Mbps from the remote site and up to 9 Mbps from the hub to the remotes.

"The National Guard deployment fits perfectly in the SkyPort mission of providing secure and reliable communications infrastructure for commercial and DOD/Homeland Security customers" said Roger Klotz, President and CEO SkyPort International. "The ability to combine the most appropriate technology with our secure reliable network, in support of Disaster Prevention and Recovery events, is unique in the industry. The solution we've developed with iDirect will provide all the state, local and federal first responder agencies with mission critical information - survivable and accessible from anywhere".

The contract was awarded to SkyPort and iDirect based on the performance of their solution at the JUICE04 (Joint User Interoperability Communications Exercise) conducted by members of the Missouri National Guard, the National Guard Bureau, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and St. Louis City and County offices. The National Guard selected this system based on its ease of deployment and management, its Quality of Service (QoS) supporting VoIP, video and data, its ability to support multiple virtual LAN (VLAN) networks, and the fact that it offers the only FIPS 140-2 3DES certified satellite link encryption available today.

"We are very excited to be a part of this solution with SkyPort" said John Kealey, CEO of iDirect Technologies. "The iDirect solution has been put to the test in thousands of military deployments around the world, and proven its flexibility, reliability and ease of use. It's exciting to see our technology make a very appropriate expansion into homeland security supporting state and local governments in first response applications.

About iDirect Technologies

iDirect Technologies, a subsidiary of Vision Technologies Systems Inc., designs, develops, and markets satellite-based broadband access solutions targeted at the enterprise, government, carrier and educational sectors that have the need for fast, flexible, and geographically dispersed two-way internet/intranet access. The company has developed technology solutions that combine high performance, worldwide availability, and ease of installation, high reliability, and low cost to end customers. In addition, iDirect solutions offer unprecedented efficiencies, increased revenue opportunities and higher per customer gross margins to satellite network operators. iDirect was awarded the 2005 World Teleport Association Teleport Technology of the year, the Innovation & Technology of the Year by The ISCe Advisory Board, and named number one in the Deloitte & Touche Virginia Technology Fast 50 list of the fastest-growing U.S. technology companies. iDirect operates its corporate headquarters in Herndon, Virginia and has regional offices in Europe, Asia, and covering Latin America. Additional information is available on the company website at www.idirect.net.

About SkyPort International, Inc.

SkyPort received one of the highest honors in its industry in March, 2004 when the World Teleport Association named SkyPort the "2004 Teleport Developer of the Year".

SkyPort International is a licensed provider of managed, secure, broadband satellite communication services over Ku and C-band. SkyPort is licensed as a global carrier with full 312 and 214 operating certifications. SkyPort provides fixed, mobile and fly-a-way IP based satellite service to accommodate the needs of First Responders and Crisis Management personnel, Homeland Security & DoD, and demanding commercial clients in the Energy, Finance and Healthcare industries. All systems support multiple VLANs over a single link, have integrated FIPS-140.2 encrypted links, support concurrent video, voice, data, and Internet communications at speeds ranging up to 9 Mbps down link and 4 Mbps uplink.

SkyPort's teleport and global Network Operations Center is designed and constructed to deliver 99.99% reliability, and is strategically located on Ellington Field, an active Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas. The teleport and operations center is a secure facility built to Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) criteria to provide both physical and network security and ensure the privacy of all communications. Multiple, and redundant fiber hubs within the teleport enable the seamless integration of satellite and terrestrial networks.

SkyPort was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas. We have experience in every phase of U.S. and international satellite communications, as well as extensive experience in diverse business and government solutions. Visit SkyPort at www.skyportsecure.com

CenturyTel, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) and others hold interests in SkyPort. CenturyTel, headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana, is the seventh largest local exchange telephone company, based on access lines, in the United States, with annual revenues exceeding $2.3 billion and serving customers in 22 states. CenturyTel provides communications services including local, long distance, Internet access and data services to more than 3 million customers in 22 states. The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CTL, and is included in the S&P 500 Index. Visit CenturyTel at www.centurytel.com

Contact:

iDirect
Warren Brown
+1 703 648 8155
wbrown@idirect.net