USDA telecom picks MCI

The Agriculture Department announced last week that it selected MCI WorldCom to provide long-distance voice and data services through the company's FTS 2001 contract with the General Services Administration.

Keith Jackson, the USDA's associate chief information officer for telecommunications services and operations, said the department selected MCI based mainly on the company's FTS 2001 prices, which were deemed superior to those from Sprint.

Jackson said the USDA did not even consider remaining with its current long-distance vendor, AT&T. He said AT&T had failed to make its X.25 data service Year 2000-compliant, and AT&T never contacted CIO Anne Reed to discuss retaining the USDA.

Mike Serbousek, executive director of MCI WorldCom Government Markets, said he looked forward to working with the USDA throughout the eight-year span of the contract. "This long-term partnership will enable MCI WorldCom to provide the USDA with a full range of telecommunications services into the next century," he said.

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