Bell Atlantic tweaks pricing, ordering for DOD telecom

Bell Atlantic Federal last month revised the pricing and ordering procedures on the Defense Department's Telecommunications Modernization Project contract— a move DOD officials said will save $3.7 million a year and shave weeks off procurement cycles.

The company announced its Tempo Affinity Program to give DOD customers in the Washington, D.C., area simplified billing and faster access to services such as local- and wide-area networks and fast-packet telecommunications.

Annalee Regensburg, Bell Atlantic's program manager for Tempo, said the company began moving toward the Affinity program about a year ago when DOD customers requested simplified billing. The Defense Telecommunications Service-Washington (DTS-W) asked Bell Atlantic to begin charging Tempo users on a per-line basis instead of based on switching services, she said.

"The Affinity program was a joint venture initiated by DTS-W," Regensburg said.

A DTS-W spokeswoman said the organization believes the change in pricing will result in "significant savings."

"We lease about 155,000 lines from Bell Atlantic's Tempo program, and we're saving about $2 per line each month under this new arrangement," the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman added that DOD users also will benefit from changes that will make it easier for Bell Atlantic to make new products and services available through Tempo.

For example, Regensburg said users who want to order a product not currently offered through Tempo can usually have it added to the contract in a matter of three weeks rather than the six-month waiting period often required before Affinity. She said the approval process under Affinity involves fewer participants than previously were needed.

"There were lots of parties who thought they had to be contacted before approval was met, and now we've made it just one contact at Bell Atlantic and one at DTS-W," Regensburg said.

She added that DTS-W no longer insists on performing technical and pricing assessments if users want to add to Tempo products that already are available on the General Services Administration schedule. If a product is on the schedule, users will be able to buy it through Tempo with no difficulty, she said.

Regensburg said she already has received positive feedback from DOD in the short time that the Affinity program has been in place. "So far we've gotten good feedback that there are obvious time savings under this process," she said. "The government just told us today that the bills are much easier to process."

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