Alaska Selects Consultants for Telecom Program

Pending the resolution of a protest by another firm, Gartner Group will assist the state with developing a request for proposals for release in spring 2000.

A key task will be interviewing state agencies about their telecom requirements. This involves not only identifying agencies' present needs, "but trying to get a good handle on where they see themselves going in the future," said Karen Morgan, deputy director for communications services in Alaska's Information Technology Group.

In developing its Telecommunications Partnering program, Alaska aims to give the state access to the latest telecom services. That includes emerging "convergence" technology, for sending voice communications over Internet Protocol-based networks and for merging voice and data on high-speed Asynchronous Transfer Mode networks.

The program will replace half a dozen major contracts and many smaller ones that are in place across the state, Morgan said.

In the past, the state has acquired telecom systems in piecemeal, awarding individual contracts for frame relay and other services. Through the Telecommunications Partnering program, the state would like to tap one contractor to take responsibility for end-to-end connectivity, she said.

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