GSA ponders FTS 2001 competition

GSA FTS 2001 site

The General Services Administration will clarify its position later this month on permitting additional vendors to compete on the FTS 2001 long-distance telecommunications contract.

The GSA Federal Technology Service's $1.5 billion contract has two vendors — Sprint and WorldCom Inc. — but the agency said it would open the contract to other vendors after the initial transition was complete. And at a hearing April 26, FTS Commissioner Sandra Bates reiterated the agency's commitment to allow crossover by vendors on FTS Metropolitan Area Acquisition local telecommunications contracts.

Both Sprint and WorldCom completed agency transitions this month, and GSA has drafted a clarification of its position.

That paper states that the agency "has concluded that it is appropriate to proceed with determining when to allow additional competition for FTS 2001 services," said Linda Koontz, director of information management issues at the General Accounting Office. Koontz spoke at a hearing on the MAA contracts held Wednesday by Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Technology and Procurement Policy Subcommittee.

The first step is to release the clarification for comment from industry on June 28. GSA also will meet with industry groups, such as the Industry Advisory Council's telecom special interest group, according to a council member.

Vendors such as AT&T, which held a FTS 2000 contract, and Qwest Communications have been pushing GSA for some time to open the long-distance contract.

Earlier this month, AT&T shifted a protest from the General Services Administration to the General Accounting Office, asking GAO to force GSA to negate the FTS 2001 awards and recompete the contract.

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