GSA: Complexity causes Networx delay

The General Services Administration decided to push the award of the Networx contracts to 2007 because the agency has too much work to do to evaluate the bids, said John Johnson, assistant commissioner of service development and delivery at GSA's Federal Acquisition Service.

“The tremendous scope and complexity of the acquisition has been a real challenge for some of the industry teams," Johnson said. "After a detailed review of the proposals, we determined that the process demands more time.”

GSA will take no new bids, but it plans to spend the next several months clarifying the ones it received, he said.

The bids are massive documents. Sprint's came to somewhere between 7,000 and 8,000 pages, said Tony D'Agata, vice president and general manager of Sprint's Government Services Division.

Johnson declined to elaborate on the issues that he and GSA want bidders to clarify, but D'Agata said many of the requirements in the contract solicitation documents were nebulous.

“Since there were so many requirements, some of which were open to interpretation, GSA may have gotten a lot of inconsistent responses," he said.

Originally, the Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise contracts had been set for award this spring and were later bumped to this summer. The latest delay schedules Universal for award in March 2007 and Enterprise in May 2007. Networx Universal will provide agencies with wide-ranging common network and communications services, while Enterprise will offer more localized options. GSA will award both contracts to multiple companies, and the agency predicts they will be worth about $20 billion over their expected 10-year span.

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