Networx contract a hot source for agencies upgrading IP services

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Networx contract makes it easy for agencies to find contractors to help upgrade communications systems

Now that nearly all federal agencies are finally transitioning from the FTS 2001 contract for telephony services to Networx, a growing number of government organizations are exploring the new contract vehicle for everything from IP-based communications to cloud services.

Officials at 90 percent of agencies have made fair-opportunity decisions, and 95 percent have completed statements of work, according to the latest update from the General Services Administration in December 2011. Those preliminary steps enable agencies to then select suppliers under the Networx contract.

With the transition well in hand, the big news on Networx is the growing use of the contract vehicle for cloud-based unified communications services, especially under Networx Enterprise, which was specifically created to deliver next-generation IP services.

“These solutions give government agencies the ability to diversify their presence outside traditional major metropolitan hubs,” said Edward Morche, senior vice president of Level 3 Communications’ Federal Markets Group. “The resiliency and speed of large-scale fiber-optic networks allow agencies to reduce the number of data centers required to maintain their services.”

Morche added that the growing use of Networx Enterprise for cloud-based UC services would allow agencies to securely connect to more remote regions in the United States.

Industry experts recommend the following steps for government organizations still working on their transition to Networx:

1. Finalize an inventory of your current telecom-related services.
2. Choose between the Networx Enterprise and Universal contracts.
3. Convert your existing inventory to Networx-based contract line item numbers.
4. Conduct fair-opportunity processes.
5. Evaluate carrier responses.

GSA is already working on the parameters of a successor contract to Networx, currently dubbed NS2020. However, details remain sketchy, and the expiration of the current contract is still five years away.

Networx Basics

In 2007, the General Services Administration launched the $68.2 billion Networx contract as a robust, technology-rich and cost-effective successor to FTS 2001. Designed to give federal agencies more supplier choices and more services at a lower overall cost, the original FTS contract offered six services, FTS 2001 featured 26, and Networx debuted with more than 50.

Divided into Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise, the new vehicle was structured to offer a comprehensive selection of telecommunication and IT services to meet each agency’s mission-critical requirements.

Universal was awarded to AT&T Government Solutions, Verizon Business and Qwest Government Services in March 2007. It provides all national and international telecommunications services that were previously available under FTS 2001. It also provides IP-based wireless, satellite security services and optional features that include Ethernet, IP video transport, collaboration support, land mobile radio, mobile satellite and cellular digital packet data. That contract is set to expire in 2017 and is capped at a little more than $48 billion.

Networx Enterprise was awarded in May 2007 to the three Universal contract holders plus Level 3 Communications and Sprint. It is valued at a little more than $20 billion and was intended to focus more intently on national IP-based services. The Enterprise contract requires suppliers to offer a minimum of nine IP-related services, such as voice over IP and network-based virtual private networks. The two four-year base contracts, with three two-year options, are set to expire in 2017.

About this Report

This report was commissioned by the Content Solutions unit, an independent editorial arm of 1105 Government Information Group. Specific topics are chosen in response to interest from the vendor community; however, sponsors arenot guaranteed content contribution or review of content before publication. For more information about 1105 Government Information Group Content Solutions, please email us at GIGCustomMedia@1105govinfo.com