MCI gets FTS 2001 extension

MCI will retain its place on the Federal Technology Service 2001 contract, a governmentwide telecommunications vehicle that has brought the company almost $400 million in revenues since 1999.

The General Services Administration decided earlier this week not to debar the company from taking new federal contracts, after almost six months of consideration. MCI's FTS 2001 contract was set to expire on Jan. 10.

MCI, then called WorldCom Inc., and Sprint were the first vendors to win FTS 2001 when it was first awarded in 1999. After the initial four-year term expired last January, FTS renewed the pact for the first one-year option.

Critics of MCI have argued that the accounting scandal that led it into bankruptcy last year should disqualify it from federal contracts. GSA officials say that debarment is intended to protect the government from ongoing problems with a contractor, not to punish a company for past wrongs.

MCI has taken significant steps to remedy its internal lapses, and will be closely monitored for three years, said David Drabkin, GSA's deputy associate administrator for acquisition policy. Moreover, the company's performance has exceeded the standards that the FTS 2001 contract requires, and the company's pricing is good, GSA officials said.

Jerry Edgerton, senior vice president of MCI Government Markets, has maintained that the improprieties did not involve the federal side of the business.

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