Networx info requests coming soon

The General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service is about to issue a request for information (RFI) as it continues to develop Networx, the contract vehicle that will replace FTS2001 and the agency's 25 Metropolitan Area Acquisition telecommunications contracts.

FTS Commissioner Sandra Bates said the request will be issued within the next 10 days and will remain open for about three weeks. RFIs allow interested companies to provide information about their products and services.

Bates, speaking at a meeting of the Industry Advisory Council, said the new contract vehicle will be split into two parts. Networx Universal will cover telecom services available nationwide, while Networx Select will include "emerging" offerings, possibly from newer companies, and be available only in limited areas.

Under the current contracts, the regional deals generally offer localized products and services in specific areas, while FTS2001 covers national offerings. FTS2001 expires in 2006. The metropolitan contracts expire one by one over the next few years, with the last ending in 2008.

FTS wants to design the new contract smartly, Bates said. "It's important to get it right," she said. "If you spend time up front getting it right, you won't spend twice as much time later fixing it."

FTS plans to award Networx contracts to vendors in 2005, to allow ample time to phase in agencies before existing contracts expire.

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