Letter to the editor

Regarding your article "DOD rapped on switch policy," you may want to take a second look at the General Accounting Office report (GAO-02-681).

First, let me compliment Federal Computer Week on providing a proper definition of a telecommunications switch, because the GAO report did not. The GAO report certainly lacks clarity on exactly what a switch is designed to do in a circuit-switched network.

I must, however, take issue with FCW reporting "20 percent of vendors interviewed said they had stopped doing business" with the Defense Department "because the costs associated with testing and certification were too high." The GAO report indicates "one of five vendors we interviewed stated that it has stopped doing business with DOD for economic reasons."

Clearly, one vendor leaving the "playing field" isn't exactly a mass exodus as implied by reporting that 20 percent have turned their backs on DOD business for telecommunications switches.

GAO says it interviewed five companies: AG Commercial Systems, Avaya Inc., Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks and Siemens AG. I believe they meant "AG Communication Systems." Note that AG Communication Systems is a joint venture of Lucent and Verizon. Lucent owns 90 percent of the company, and Verizon owns the remaining 10 percent. By 2004, Lucent plans to acquire full ownership of the company.

There are many other errors of omission and fact. Too many are of a technical nature to fully describe them here. However, if GAO can't properly define what it is they're looking at and doesn't know whom they interviewed, can we believe the rest of the report?

Name withheld by request

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