NS2020 sparks deluge of questions

GSA's telecom contract draft RFP is drawing plenty of attention from industry and agencies.

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The General Services Administration has received more than 1,600 comments and questions from industry and federal agencies concerning its draft request for proposals on the contract that will be the cornerstone of its next-generation NS2020 telecommunications services strategy.

GSA released the draft RFP on Feb. 28 for the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) acquisition, which requires potential contractors to cover four mandatory services -- virtual private networks, managed networks, regional telecommunications and Ethernet.

The comment period for the document closed March 31.

In an April 15 email to FCW, a GSA spokesperson said the agency had received 1,215 questions/comments from 15 companies and 405 questions/comments from government agencies. The agency didn't specify company names or types.

Managers of the agency's emerging telecommunications contract said in a conference call in early March that they expected a variety of vendors would be interested in bidding on the $50 billion, 15-year vehicle -- and they expected a competitive battle for the prize.

Fred Haines, EIS program manager in GSA's Office of Network Services Programs, said during the call that the draft RFP was developed with significant industry and agency input, and sought to widen the playing field in a number of ways, including reducing geographic network coverage requirements for providers. Potential bidders won't need to have the vast network infrastructure of a traditional telecom company to participate, he said.

Moving ahead, the GSA spokesperson said in the email to FCW that the agency plans three group meetings with industry over the next three months to discuss the draft -- on April 27, May 28 and June 30. The agency has said it expects to issue the EIS RFP in July, and to award the EIS contract by the end of fiscal 2016.

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