Networx may get Treasury network

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"Ready, set ... "

Treasury Department officials have awarded a $381 million enterprise network contract to AT&T, but officials could move the contract to the upcoming Networx vehicle in three years, according to Rep. Tom Davis (R.-Va.)

Treasury officials awarded the contract late last week.

The Treasury Communications Enterprise contract could ultimately be worth $1 billion, according to AT&T officials. It calls for a three-year base period and seven one-year options.

However, Davis is concerned that too many agencies may not use the forthcoming Networx contract, which will replace FTS 2001 when it is awarded in 2006. Davis, who is chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, believes that having too many separate procurements could dilute the buying power that agencies have when they pool their requirements into a single vehicle.

"There's no reason you can't have different procurement shops, but they're all doing the same thing," he said.

After talks with Ira Hobbs, Treasury's chief information officer, it became clear that Treasury officials were not going to conduct the TCE procurement through FTS 2001, Davis said.

However, Hobbs agreed to report back to the Office of Management and Budget, and possibly move the contract activity onto Networx in three years, Davis said.

"It's no secret that the Treasury Department's procurement history is less than stellar," Davis said. The decision not to use a governmentwide contract vehicle is more than a matter of cost, he added. It's also a structural issue, contributing to the ongoing difficulty of sharing information.

Under the contract, AT&T's government solutions team will build a secure, high-speed virtual private network using IP technology. However, Lou Addeo, president of the group, said he doesn't yet know what shape the final plan will take.

"I don't think we're at a point yet where we can go through that," he said. "We're still meeting with Treasury and their business units. The scope of the work needs to be put into the appropriate mechanism of timeline as well as service delivery period. Of course, we and our partners are anxious to support whatever timeline Treasury lays out for us."

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