Four share Boston telecom deal

Four companies will share the Boston-area federal telecommunications contract

awarded Tuesday by the General Services Administration's Federal Technology

Service.

WinStar Communications Inc., AT&T, Southwestern Bell and Bell Atlantic

each have won part of the Metropolitan Area Acquisition (MAA) contract,

which officials say could be worth as much as $270 million during eight

years.

The contract will save the government between $78 million and $80 million,

according to GSA.

Sandra Bates, FTS commissioner, said the contract also marks the first time

that any of the so-called Baby Bells broke out of their region to successfully

bid on a contract in another Bell company's area.

"We think this is an encouraging sign of things to come as full competition

becomes a reality in the local services market," she said.

Southwestern Bell, as the name suggests, is anchored in the southwestern

part of the country, including Texas. Bell Atlantic includes what was formerly

part of Nynex — the New England and New York-based company that emerged

from the breakup of AT&T in the 1980s.

With open competition for local long-distance markets, AT&T has also

been scrambling for MAA contracts. It has won three as a sole contractor — in Chicago, New York and San Francisco — and shares contracts in six other

regions.

In addition to the new Boston contract, those include Buffalo, where it

is partnered with Bell Atlantic; Cleveland, with Ameritec; and Indianapolis

and Dallas, with WinsStar and Southwestern Bell.

WinStar, with 11 MAA contracts since March, is the only other company to

be a sole provider for any region. The company holds the MAA contracts for

Cincinnati and Baltimore.

In addition to the contracts it shares with AT&T, WinStar holds MAA

deals in the following locations with the partners indicated.

* Los Angeles, along with Pacific Bell.

* Atlanta and Miami, with Bell South.

* St. Louis, with Southwestern Bell.

* Minneapolis, with US West.

* Denver, with AT&T and Qwest Communications.

FTS has brokered 16 metropolitan-area long distance contracts — worth a

total of about $3.6 billion — across the country.

FTS expects to award MAA contracts in the coming months to cover Philadelphia,

Albuquerque, New Orleans and Boise.

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