Acquisition

NS2020 sparks deluge of questions

large broadcasting antenna

The General Services Administration has received more than 1,600 comments and questions from industry and federal agencies concerning its draft request for proposals on the contract that will be the cornerstone of its next-generation NS2020 telecommunications services strategy.

GSA released the draft RFP on Feb. 28 for the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) acquisition, which requires potential contractors to cover four mandatory services -- virtual private networks, managed networks, regional telecommunications and Ethernet.

The comment period for the document closed March 31.

In an April 15 email to FCW, a GSA spokesperson said the agency had received 1,215 questions/comments from 15 companies and 405 questions/comments from government agencies. The agency didn't specify company names or types.

Managers of the agency's emerging telecommunications contract said in a conference call in early March that they expected a variety of vendors would be interested in bidding on the $50 billion, 15-year vehicle -- and they expected a competitive battle for the prize.

Fred Haines, EIS program manager in GSA's Office of Network Services Programs, said during the call that the draft RFP was developed with significant industry and agency input, and sought to widen the playing field in a number of ways, including reducing geographic network coverage requirements for providers. Potential bidders won't need to have the vast network infrastructure of a traditional telecom company to participate, he said.

Moving ahead, the GSA spokesperson said in the email to FCW that the agency plans three group meetings with industry over the next three months to discuss the draft -- on April 27, May 28 and June 30. The agency has said it expects to issue the EIS RFP in July, and to award the EIS contract by the end of fiscal 2016.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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