D.C. needs to consider FTS 2000, WITS

As the District of Columbia fights mounting financial woes D.C. representative Eleanor Holmes Norton once again is pushing the city to use existing federal contracts to meet its local and long-distance telecommunications needs.

In a recent letter to D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Norton urged the city to take advantage of the services and price savings offered by FTS 2000 and the Washington Interagency Telecommunications System contracts. The request mirrors one made three years ago to then-mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. The General Services Administration was never taken up on its offer.

GSA has estimated that the District may be paying as much as $30 per line for the same service available under the FTS 2000 contract for $13 per line. Although saving $17 per line won't cure the financial ills of the District it's a start. Other potential benefits included offer District agencies new technology to improve services to the citizen and with additional traffic on the system perhaps lower prices for everyone.

At a time when this financially strapped city prepares to close some of its public schools it is time to start looking for other ways to save money. While we remain fully supportive of the District government's efforts to promote competition and support local business Barry and his staff need to carefully consider the options available under these contracts. If they don't we are confident that someone else will.

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