FAA telecom contract worth nearly $2 billion
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Feb 29, 2000
The Federal Aviation Administration plans to solicit proposals in the next
two weeks for a vendor to provide nearly $2 billion in telecommunications
services for the National Airspace System.
With the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure program, the agency's
leased and owned infrastructure of multiple networks will be replaced with
a consolidated, centrally managed leased service meeting the strict availability
requirements for air traffic management and control.
An award is scheduled for March 2001, said David Lantzy, FAA's deputy
director of telecommunications. Lantzy spoke Monday during the Federal Telecommunications
Conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Telestrategies Inc.
The contract potentially be worth $1.9 billion over 10 years, based
on the estimated $200 million per year the FAA is spending now, Lantzy said
in an interview. By the time it's awarded, most of the existing leases will
expire and many legacy systems will approach the end of their service lives.
"It's a very specialized field," Lantzy said. "We don't feel the FAA
is doing the best job it can. We want to move toward full outsourcing of
all our telecom needs."
FTI should eventually reduce the costs of telecommunications services
by minimizing the inefficiencies associated with using multiple, independent
The solicitation will be about two weeks late, primarily because of
input from industry to move toward system integration and a service-oriented
approach, Lantzy said. The new services will have to be modern enough to
accommodate the FAA's rapid growth in bandwidth use as it moves to new IP-
and data-based communications, he said.
The FTI team also has been working with the General Services Administration's
team for the federal FTS 2001 telecommunications contract to incorporate
similar discounts in the FAA's contract, Lantzy said. But FAA must take
more than low prices into account, he said.
"A vendor may propose to use FTS 2001 bandwidth and pricing but the
FTS 2001 requirements are too low to meet [National Airspace System] safety
requirements," he said.
The FTI provider will be responsible for the transport layer of services,
which includes frame relay, asynchronous transfer mode, voice-over-IP, wide-area
network routers, data switches and multiplexers. At least three firms have
indicated their intent to bid FTI, Lantzy said.