Not on Networx yet? Prepare to pay.

The General Services Administration will reimburse agencies for further transitions to the Networx telecommunications contract, if agencies have submitted their requests by Aug. 31, a deadline that has arrived.

In August 2010, some agencies received approval to extend the deadline to submit orders to help with their transitions to the new telecommunications setup. The extension allowed them to qualify for credits toward their costs of transitioning, even though the orders would be submitted past the first deadline.

As it stands, agencies with the extension must turn in their transition orders to their Networx carrier, and the orders must be accepted by Aug. 31 or agencies will lose compensation.

Karl Krumbholz, director of GSA’s network service programs, has posted warnings on his blog throughout 2011 continuing to remind agency officials about the last chances to get reimbursements for their move to Networx. He wrote a blog about the deadline in June and again in July. Now the deadline is a day away.

In 2010, GSA approved exceptions for 42 agencies that provided a plan for completing the transition and requested an extension. They received another year to get their orders in by this week to continue to receive credits.

As the Networx transitions continue, GSA doesn’t have the power to make agencies move to the new contract. GSA has to prove to agencies the benefits of the new platform.

“GSA has no ‘enforcement powers’ beyond those associated with being the contract issuer,” Krumbholz wrote on his blog in July in response to questions from the media. "Agencies choose to use the Networx contracts because of the value."

GSA has turned to top IT leaders to get agencies moving faster though. GSA has worked closely with the Interagency Management Council, and has reached senior agency officials through the CIO Council. But the Office of Management and Budget has had the real influence.

“OMB has the ability to focus agency leadership on the benefits of a timely transition far more effectively than any other transition stakeholder,” Krumbholz wrote.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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