Georgia to outsource telecom
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Mar 22, 2001
To better manage its information technology, Georgia plans to outsource
and consolidate its telecommunications services in the next 18 months.
The services would include voice, data, two-way radio, wireless technologies
and support services, such as billing and desktop management, said Michael
Clark, marketing and communications coordinator for the Georgia Technology
Authority (GTA), the agency that manages and coordinates IT for state agencies.
He said the GTA would still manage and control the data, but that assessing,
purchasing and installing technology is not something the state should be
"It's not a core competency of state government to manage this information
and communications infrastructure," Clark said. "The technology is changing
so rapidly that, arguably, it doesn't make sense for us to invest in that
"It's a lot like what San Diego did, but obviously on a much larger
scale," he added. Two years ago, San Diego County outsourced its communications
and computer services to the private sector.
Georgia plans to issue a Request for Qualified Contractors in May to
help identify companies with the capabilities, financial stability, proven
track record and interest in bidding for the contract. A Request for Proposal
will be issued in August, and the state hopes to award the contract in January.
Clark said he expected several companies would have to partner to manage
a system of this size.
Currently, the Department of Administrative Services manages the telecommunications
network, but Clark said GTA would assume that role July 1, through an executive
order that is expected to be signed by Gov. Roy Barnes, and until it is
Clark said the state has been thinking of outsourcing telecommunications
for at least a year. A February 2000 KPMG International report said that
although Georgia is "comparable in size to a Fortune 100 company" with a
$22.5 billion budget and an estimated $800 million in technology expenditures,
its technology approach "resembles that of a loose confederation of small
to mid-sized organizations."
Although the report, which led to the creation of the GTA that summer,
did not specifically recommend outsourcing, Clark said it served as part
of the impetus for the current initiative.
"We've been told that a lot of states and other governments are watching
us very closely; and this may be a model for other states and other governments
outside the United States that may attempt this," he said.