Bell Atlantic wins GAO contract

Bell Atlantic Federal Systems expects to begin work this week on its first nationwide contract to offer telecommunications maintenance services and equipment to a federal agency.

The General Accounting Office awarded the Consolidated Field Office Maintenance contract, worth a minimum of $1.4 million, to Bell Atlantic in late January.

The contract will provide a vehicle for GAO to order Nortel telecom equipment and to obtain recommendations from Bell Atlantic on improving its systems.

Katrina Carr, a Bell Atlantic account executive, said the award represented a landmark for the company, which heretofore has focused primarily on regional contracts. "It's unique for us because the scope is nationwide," Carr said. "But I'm sure we are equipped to handle it."

Carr said Bell Atlantic will take a more proactive role in maintaining GAO's telecom infrastructure than previous contracts at the agency provided. The company will provide a 24-hour-a-day help desk-service but will also serve in an advisory capacity to prevent problems. "In essence, we are offering them consultation services for the entire telecommunications operation," she said.

Bob Barrett, director of telecommunications at GAO, said the agency had more than 20 regional contracts for maintenance in place before the award to Bell Atlantic.

He said a single nationwide contract "will make it a lot easier for us to manage the entire process.

A Complete Package

"We were looking for a complete package where we could not only get maintenance when things break down but also make proactive changes before things become problems," Barrett said. "What we are getting now is more of a total maintenance package."

Barrett noted that Bell Atlantic was "a proven commodity for GAO" due to its work maintaining voice-mail systems at GAO headquarters.

Barbara Connor, president of Bell Atlantic Federal Systems, said in a written statement that the company's past performance at the agency allowed the company to prevail during the competition for the contract.

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