Interior picks MCI as FTS 2001 telecom provider

The Interior Department has signed on with MCI WorldCom as its provider of long-distance telecommunications service through the General Services Administration's recently awarded FTS 2001 contract.

Jim Dolezal, chief of telecommunications systems at Interior, said he made his decision after meeting separately with representatives from MCI; Sprint, the other FTS 2001 contractor; and AT& T, the department's current provider under the FTS 2000 contract.

In a memo to other federal telecom executives, Dolezal said he compared the vendors based on five categories: past performance, technical, management, cost, and the quality and clarity of vendors' responses. He said MCI's response scored higher than those of its competitors.

Dolezal said AT& T executives attempted to persuade him to forgo the FTS 2001 contract, which is not mandatory, and stay on AT& T's network. Dolezal, impressed with the presentations provided by MCI and Sprint, rejected AT& T's pleas.

"The attitude and aggressiveness of the new vendors is a welcome change," he said.

Dolezal's memo calls for an early transition to FTS 2001. "The department decided early on that the benefits of an early transition were so great that we needed to expedite our decision process and transition planning efforts," he wrote.

Interior is the second department to officially select an FTS 2001 service provider. Last month the Treasury Department selected Sprint as its long-distance service provider under the contract.

Dolezal said today that he will meet next week with agency managers and MCI officials to determine how to transition to MCI.

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