Networx industry day planned

The Federal Technology Service has invited industry officials to a Feb. 17 meeting, to discuss the ongoing develop of Networx, a sweeping telecommunications contract.

Networx, which will replace FTS 2001 when that vehicle expires, has attracted a great deal of industry interest, said John Johnson, assistant commissioner for service development and acting assistant commissioner for service delivery for the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service. FTS officials received 737 comments in response to a request for information it published last October, and has met with industry officials several times.

"Many times solutions are revealed and new ideas are born through this dialogue," Johnson said. "It's not like we're dealing with a group of people who always sing the same song, or who are shrinking violets. We're hoping for a robust dialogue."

The questions that FTS officials continue to explore as they work on the contract include how to define "converged services" when that concept is still developing, what barriers confront small businesses trying to enter the market and how to ensure continuity of service for agencies currently using FTS 2001.

Johnson plans to divide Networx into two parts. Networx Universal will provide broadly available voice and data services, and Networx Select will provide leading-edge technology to more confined geographical areas. He expects to issue a draft request for proposals for Networx Universal this spring and for Networx Select early in 2005.

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