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 award in late December of 10 deals for nationwide DSL service.

The five-year multiple-award contract, announced Jan. 3, 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.

This is the first GSA program to offer a nationwide DSL service at higher speeds and of various types, said William Horst, assistant regional administrator for FTS' New England office. 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.

The 10 vendors on the 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 Con-nection Corp., Netifice Communications Inc., Net-work Access Solutions and Omega Consulting Inc.

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