Telecom

GSA pushes deadline on $50 billion telecom contract

Telecom networks abstract

The General Services Administration has pushed the deadline for bids on its $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract back another three weeks, into late February, as it responds to hundreds of questions about the complex request for proposals.

The new deadline of 4 p.m. on Feb. 22 was announced on Jan. 6 in the latest set of responses to questions via the FedBizOpps website and the agency's Interact platform.

EIS is the foundational contract for GSA's overarching Network Services 2020 strategy for future federal IT and telecommunications needs. GSA issued an 890-page RFP on Oct. 16, 2015.

The new delay is the second for EIS bid submissions. In mid-December, GSA officials pushed the original deadline for submissions from Jan. 15 to Jan. 29.

The latest extension followed a deluge of almost 900 questions about myriad details in the huge contract from potential bidders and federal agencies. The questions covered a wide range of intricacies on pricing, definitions and other administrative topics.

Some industry experts said the long list of questions is not unwarranted given the length and complexity of the proposed contract.

Warren Suss, a longtime telecom and federal IT analyst, said the massive contract is one of the largest and most complex the federal government has ever produced. "It's not at all unusual for GSA to delay complex contract deadlines when amendments are made," he added.

GSA has done the initial work of getting significant industry input and agreement before issuing the RFP, Suss said, so the amendments being made now are minor tweaks. However, even small changes to pricing structures can mean significant changes to the structure of bids, which can take some time to incorporate into companies' submissions, he added.

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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