Qwest gets new contract abilities

The General Services Administration has granted two contract modifications for Qwest Communications International Inc., both allowing the company to expand the services it can offer under its Seattle Metropolitan Area Acquisition (MAA) contract.

Qwest announced the modifications April 1 at the Network Services Conference sponsored by GSA's Federal Technology Service.

One modification allows Qwest to sell multitiered security profile services, including high-speed data services with integrated security. The other allows Qwest to sell high-speed data services.

The contract changes illustrate FTS' continuing efforts to stay ahead of changing technology and to ensure its procurement services stay abreast with agency needs.

The changes to Qwest's MAA came under a "crossover" provision that allows vendors who have been awarded an MAA and achieved some success with it to expand offerings governmentwide. Crossover also allows companies working under the local-only MAA to add some long-distance services to their offerings.

In the near future, when the MAA program and the long-distance FTS 2001 contract vehicle expire, FTS plans to merge them into a successor vehicle called Networx.

Security also has become a key concern, said David Jarrell, director of FTS' Center for Business Innovation, speaking at a conference session. Jarrell formerly was director of the Federal Computer Incident Response Center.

"If we're not putting security as an integrated part of our offerings, we're missing the boat," he said. "That's a boat we're not going to miss."

Under the multitiered security profile contract modification, Qwest will offer two tiers of service, said Jim Payne, senior vice president and general manager of Qwest's Government Services Division.

* Tier 1 includes dedicated Internet access and virtual private networks.

* Tier 2 includes Qwest's managed packet filter routing service and security services from RedSiren, a partner company. The services include a managed firewall, a managed VPN, intrusion detection and other on-site and managed services.

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