GSA lines up better DSL offerings

The General Services Administration has increased the speeds and types of Digital Subscriber Line services available to government workers with the late-December award of 10 deals for nationwide DSL service.

The five-year, multiple-award contract is worth more than $300 million and will support all of GSA's 11 regions as well as other federal agencies and the Defense Department.

The contract, announced Jan. 3, was the result of a partnership between GSA's regional center in Boston and the GSA Federal Technology Service Solutions Development Center in Oakland, Calif., said William Horst, assistant regional administrator for FTS' New England office. The California center is part of GSA's Applications "N' Support for Widely Diverse End User Requirements (Answer) program.

Unlike other GSA offerings, this is the first to offer a nationwide DSL service at higher speeds and of various types, Horst said. The contractors offer Asymmetrical DSL, Symmetrical DSL and the older ISDN DSL, he said. Speeds range from the low end of 144 kilobits/sec up to 8 megabits/sec.

"We tried to include ADSL and SDSL because that should capture a lot of the teleworking group [such as home offices] and small offices," Horst said. DSL runs over existing copper lines, but it allows for faster transmission by splitting a single telephone line into two lines, part for voice and part for data.

A requirement of the contract was for the vendors to have a Web-based ordering capability. In the future, GSA will create a portal for customers to access all the available DSL offerings from a designated contract site, Horst said.

"This will allow for value-added, full-service solutions by FTS as well as direct ordering by other agencies and DOD," he said. Agencies will be able to buy the services through FTS or order directly from the vendors on the contract, he said.

The 10 vendors on the multiple-award contract, which was a small business set-aside, are:

CAIS Inc. Computer Support Associates Inc. Comtech LLC Focal Communications Corp. GAITS Inc. Integrated Technologies Inc. Net Connection Corp. Netifice Communications Inc. Network Access Solutions Omega Consulting Inc.

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