Telecommunications

GSA plows on towards EIS RFP deadline

Telecom VOIP Switch - Shutterstock

The General Services Administration 's $50 billion, next-generation telecommunications contract remains on track for a mid-February vendor proposal deadline -- despite a blizzard of vendor questions and no shortage of real snowflakes.

On January 29, GSA issued its final set of responses to almost 1,000 questions from vendors about its request for proposals for the 15-year Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract that will anchor the agency's next-generation NS2020 communications strategy.

The agency has twice delayed the final deadline for RFP responses in the face of a mountain of questions about the intricate details of the 890-page RFP it issued last Oct. 16. GSA pushed the original Jan. 15 deadline to Jan. 29, then again to the current Feb. 22 deadline to answer a total of over 960 questions, concerning everything from Contract Line Item Numbers to traffic forecast models to pricing.

In its latest, and last, amendment filing for the contract posted Jan. 29 to FedBizOpps, the agency didn't offer up any major changes or shifts in timing, even though some vendors sought another deferral.

Some asked for another postponement because of the sheer number of questions, while others cited more pedestrian reasons for another two week deadline delay -- the historic blizzard that left the Washington area reeling with almost three feet of snow and blocked transportation and shut down federal government offices for days.

"Due to the historic blizzard conditions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region with unplowed roads, airline flight cancellations, Metro closure and school closures," wrote one vendor, "our team has been greatly hindered in our ability to come together in the final phases or preparing our response to the solicitation (in person collaboration in the final phases is vital to properly complete pricing and proposal items for submission)," said the vendor before requesting another two-week extension.

The GSA dryly answered that in the "digital age," GSA expects "the telecommunications/IT infrastructure vendor community to embrace the networking (e.g. VPN) and collaboration capability (e.g. online meetings and conferences) that the government currently employs and potential offerors are expected to provide under EIS."

GSA also denied a request for another delay based on the number of outstanding questions. It s aid it had answered all of the questions in the latest amendment. "The due date for receipt of proposals will not be extended."

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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