Social Security Administration chooses MCI for FTS 2001 service

The Social Security Administration today announced it has selected MCI WorldCom to provide its voice, data, Internet and conferencing services through the General Services Administration's FTS 2001 network. MCI estimated the eight-year deal to be worth $250 million.

SSA is the ninth major agency to select MCI to provide its FTS 2001 service and the third to do so this month, a company spokesman said.

Tony Bardo, director for civilian agencies at MCI WorldCom Government Markets, said SSA's selection was especially significant to MCI because of the agency's high-profile 800 service."It's an advanced network with a lot of options for callers," Bardo said of SSA's 800 service. "And Social Security has a very public mission, so that will be a challenge to us."

Bardo noted that MCI previously provided SSA's 800 service through a three-year contract the company won in 1988. The agency subsequently moved that traffic to the FTS 2000 contract held by AT& T, which will continue to handle the service until it can be moved to MCI's network.

MCI was selected by SSA in March to replace the agency's backbone data network of dedicated circuits with asynchronous transfer mode connections, Bardo said. Today's announcement awards to MCI all of SSA's requirements to provide data connections between its district offices and regional operating centers.

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