Agency demand for wireless explodes
- By Mark Rockwell
- Jan 15, 2016
GSA's Mary Davie announced that federal government use of wireless blanket purchase agreements soared 500 percent in fiscal year 2015.
Although federal agencies obligated hundreds of millions of dollars in fiscal 2015 under the General Services Administration's Connections II contract for network integration and support services, the agency said growth in wireless technology jumped substantially in the same period.
In a Jan. 14 blog post, Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of GSA's Office of Integrated Technology Services, said agencies obligated $172 million under Connections II. And in a post the next day, she said agency use of Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) wireless blanket purchase agreements skyrocketed 500 percent over fiscal 2014 levels as agencies continue to integrate mobile technology enterprisewide.
She added that 85 percent of agencies are now using the wireless BPAs.
Connections II and the FSSI wireless BPAs are managed by GSA's Office of Network Services Programs, which also oversees the agency's current Networx telecom services contracts and the upcoming Network Services 2020 strategy. The $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract will form the basis of NS2020.
Davie said that although cabling and wiring federal buildings and campuses will remain the primary purpose of the Connections contract, the agency is seeing a movement toward unified communications radio access networks, distributed antenna systems and land mobile radio systems as agencies seek to widen the coverage for mobile devices.
The agency is also working on its Mobility 2.0 next-generation wireless and mobile solutions strategy. She said a cross-agency task force is exploring how to address acquisition planning to support future purchasing and management of wireless and mobility programs.
That effort includes a new Mobility 2.0 Interact community that will allow companies and agencies to keep track of new initiatives and plans.
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.
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