FTS 2001 not FAA's route
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Mar 05, 2000
The Federal Aviation Administration plans to outsource its air traffic
telecommunications, but it is unable to use the governmentwide FTS 2001
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
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.