27 agencies miss FTS 2001 switchover
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Dec 10, 2000
Two days past the deadline for switching to the FTS 2001 telecommunications
contract, 27 agencies out of the 146 making the transition from FTS 2000
told the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service that
they had not completed the switch.
As of Dec. 8, agencies that had not completed the transition to either
WorldCom Inc. or Sprint included the Treasury, Agriculture and Transportation
departments as well as the Office of Personnel Management and GSA (for a
complete list, see this story online at www.fcw. com/fcw/current.asp).
Agencies are in different stages of completion, and most only have a
few circuits left to change, said Frank Lalley, assistant commissioner for
service delivery at FTS. "We're going to be carrying service all the way
through May," Lalley said. "Our plan has us done by May.... The problems
are complex data networks and remote locations."
GSA signed last-minute extensions to the FTS 2000 bridge contracts with
Sprint and AT&T that will give customers of Sprint until June 6, 2001,
and customers of AT&T until Dec. 6, 2001, to move off the old telecom
contract, Lalley said. Lower prices offered by both companies in fiscal
2000 will not apply to the extensions.
AT&T will charge $8 million to cover
administrative costs such as billing. Agencies also will pay more for switched-voice
services as usage declines.
"This will stimulate agencies to review their transition schedules and
escalate them," Lalley said.
Representatives of WorldCom and Sprint said the program got off to a
slow start after the Year 2000 rollover, and some agencies were slow to
"We expect to be complete by the end of February," said Tony D'Agata,
vice president and general manager of Sprint Government Systems Division,
which reported that 87 of its 112 FTS 2001 customers had completed the transition.
"We all had hoped to complete things sooner than this but...it took longer
than everybody expected."
WorldCom has completed about 80 percent of the transition at 79 agencies,
said Rick Slifer, director of FTS programs for WorldCom Government Markets
"I wouldn't point the finger at agencies and I wouldn't point the finger
at contractors," Lalley said. "I know it took longer than they expected
it to. It's just not an easy thing to do. The interaction between agencies
and contractors caused people to think about their options more thoroughly."
A more important issue now is whether agencies took the opportunity
to upgrade their services to the next generation of networked technologies,
said Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting Inc., a consulting firm specializing
in the federal technology market.
"At this point, I still think that's a question mark," Suss said. "Some
agencies have, some agencies haven't."