Convergence is next year's story

The General Services Administration's contracts that govern most telecommunications projects will be running out over the next few years. FTS 2001 expires in 2006. The 25 Metropolitan Area Acquisition contracts that govern local service will expire at different times, but the last ones will end in 2008.

GSA's Federal Technology Service is working on a new contract called Networx that is expected to combine local and long-distance service, voice, and data into one vehicle. The vendors say the move is a good one for the times.

Meanwhile, John Johnson, assistant commissioner of service development and service delivery at FTS, plans to open FTS 2001 to bundled procurements of local and long-distance services, an effort to make the contract more useful until Networx is ready, he said.

"The customer demand is becoming more sophisticated," said Chris Rooney, AT&T's former government solutions president and nominee to head the company's newly unified sales team. "You see it evolving and I think you will see it evolve even more. A credit to [Commissioner Sandra] Bates and her team is that they've worked with industry input. They've discussed it with all of us, our competitors and ourselves, individually and collectively."

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