Qwest to offer Web hosting on FTS 2001

Crossover site

Qwest Communications International Inc. and the General Services Administration announced Jan. 17 the first agreement allowing a local telecommunications service provider to offer Web-hosting services on the governmentwide FTS 2001 long-distance contract.

Qwest modified its Boise, Idaho, contract — one of four the company currently holds — to offer a range of Web-hosting services. These include packages of hardware and services that agencies can manage in-house to services managed entirely by Qwest at one of its secure operations centers.

The company plans to continue negotiations with GSA's Federal Technology Service to offer more services, but not the traditional long-distance telephone service where any new offerors must meet the service requirements outlined in the original contract, said Jim Payne, senior vice president of Qwest's Government Systems Division.

"We're going to continue to concentrate on emerging services in new areas," he said.

Qwest has sold Web-hosting services to government agencies since the company first added such services to its offerings several years ago, Payne said. "But some agencies have very specific preferences as to vehicles, and [getting on FTS 2001] allows me to reach those 'GSA agencies,' " Payne said.

In August 2001, GSA followed through on its plan to open FTS 2001 to competition, following requests from vendors and interest from Congress. Vendors may now negotiate with FTS to modify their GSA Metropolitan Area Acquisition (MAA) contracts, which are restricted to certain cities, to provide a new or existing FTS 2001 services to agencies across the country.

Sprint and WorldCom Inc. won the original FTS 2001 contracts in 1998 and 1999, respectively. The crossover started last year once the two companies finished moving customer agencies from the old FTS 2000 contract.

The crossover rules also allow MAA vendors to offer local services in other MAA cities and FTS 2001 vendors to offer local services in any of the MAA cities.

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