Telecommunications

$50B telecom contract set to kick off during presidential transition

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General Services Administration officials in charge of the agency's massive $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions telecommunications contract still anticipate making the contract available to federal agencies in early 2017, but they're keeping an eye on the presidential transition.

The agency released the formal request for proposals for the contract on Oct. 16, and agencies are set to begin receiving services via EIS by early 2017.

That's still the plan, said Amando Gavino, director of GSA's Office of Network Services Programs, in an Oct. 26 interview with FCW at ACT-IAC's Executive Leadership Conference.  However, he declined to provide an exact date in 2017.

The inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20 of that year marks a big administrative change for federal agencies, said EIS Program Manager Fred Haines in a presentation on NS2020, GSA's overarching telecom strategy that includes the EIS contract.

Gavino said he was somewhat concerned about the effects a change in administration could have on the contract's services, and Haines said the agency would see how it goes as the contract moves through the awards process.

In any case, Gavino noted that EIS is moving ahead with a transition process of its own to prepare for the time when services become available.

Agencies have until January to submit their inventory validations to GSA, and complete transition plans are due by next October. Those steps will allow a smoother, less complicated switch to EIS than the switch to Networx, which took three years longer than anticipated.

Debbie Hren, GSA's network services transition director for EIS, said the inventory validation will determine what kind of telecom support an agency needs. She said she's working across the spectrum to help agencies take stock of what they're currently using for telecommunications -- ranging from 200 components of the Department of Homeland Security to 100 American Indian tribes that use the contract for telephone services.

So far, Hren said, all the larger agencies have been contacted about the inventory validations, but there might be some stragglers among the smaller agencies.

"If you haven't heard from GSA [about the validations], call us," she said.

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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