FTS 2001 not FAA's route

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to outsource its air traffic

telecommunications, but it is unable to use the governmentwide FTS 2001

telecom contract.

The FAA plans to solicit proposals in the next two weeks for a vendor

to provide nearly $2 billion in telecom services for the National Airspace

System, said David Lantzy, the FAA's deputy director of telecommunications.

Under the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) program, the agency's

jumble of leased and owned systems and multiple networks will be replaced

with a consolidated, centrally managed leased service.

The General Services Administration's FTS 2001 contract offers agencies

high-speed telecommunications services from MCI WorldCom and Sprint at a

discount.

The FTI team has been working with GSA's FTS 2001 team to incorporate

similar discounts in the FAA's contract, but FTS 2001's offerings alone

will not meet the FAA's needs, Lantzy said during the Federal Telecommunications

Conference in Washington, D.C., last week.

"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 FAA's network must have the highest levels of

availability and quick recovery from network failures, he said.

The contract, scheduled for awarding in March 2001, could be worth $1.9

billion over 10 years, based on the estimated $200 million per year the

FAA is now spending, Lantzy said. By the time FTI is awarded, most of the

existing leases will expire, and many legacy systems will approach the end

of their service lives.

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,

Lantzy said. At least three firms have indicated their intent to bid on

FTI, he said.

MORE INFO

Pact helps Free Flight take off

Computer Sciences Corp. and Raytheon Systems Co. last week nabbed a$150 million contract to help integrate NASA's air traffic management productsat the Federal Aviation Administration.

The NASA Air Traffic Management System Development and Integration contractwill deepen NASA's commitment to help make the FAA's air traffic managementsystem safer and more efficient, said Robert Jacobsen, chief of the AdvancedAir Transportation Technologies Office at NASA's Ames Research Center.

NASA chose CSC and Raytheon from a pool of five prime bidders for thethree-year contract. Jacobsen's organization is trying to advance the FAA'sFree Flight program into a mature system, he said. Free Flight is a conceptunder which pilots who are supplied with information about air traffic,position and weather conditions will have more discretion in planning routeswithin predetermined areas.

BY Paula Shaki Trimble
Mar. 6, 2000

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