$50B telecom award due in late July

Shutterstock image (by kstudija): telecommunications radio tower. 

The General Services Administration is only days away from awarding its 15-year, $50 billion contract for 21st-century telecommunications, one of the agency's top acquisition managers said.

"We're very, very close to award," said Bill Zielinski, deputy assistant commissioner for category management in the GSA's Federal Acquisition Service  in a presentation at a July 13 FedInsider conference on modernizing federal IT.

Zielinski said he couldn't provide the specific date because of regulations, but said the award of the massive contract is "a couple of weeks off."

That would put it within the timeframe of suggested by interested vendors and observers.

As category executive, Zielinski oversees hardware, software, telecommunications, IT services/consulting and cyber category teams as well as the solutions that fall within those categories at FAS.

The date of the award has slipped in small increments since last fall, but no major delays have materialized. The agency had never set an official EIS award date, and officials said at the beginning of the year they intended to award the contract in late spring. At the time, some contractors familiar with the contract said privately that the agency would award closer to early summer, with early June being the most likely timeframe.

The contract cleared a major hurdle in May, when Windstream withdrew a protest it filed only a month before, in April. The company had told the Government Accountability Office it had been unfairly eliminated from the telecommunications contract's competitive range.

Zielinski told FCW that GSA has received transition plans from all agencies. Some of the plans are better than others, he said, but they all provide initial guidance on inventories of what services they have in place.

GSA has been meeting with CIOs for the last year or so to discuss the plans, but the day of the contract award, Zielinski said, GSA will again reach out to them for another round of transition discussions and to explain how they might use EIS as a gateway to more advanced digital services.

Agency CIOs, he said, can also work through designated transition coordinators in their agencies.

He also told FCW that the early June shake up at FAS, that saw the abrupt departure of the service's Commissioner Tom Sharpe and Deputy Commissioner Kevin Youel Page and a reorganization that folded the Technology Transformation Services technology shop into FAS, had no effect on the huge contract's progress.

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, 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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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