AT&T renews FTS 2001 award protest

All federal customers on the FTS 2001 telecommunications contract are expected to switch to the new services by the end of June, but AT&T has renewed its protest over the government's right to award the contract in the first place.

Of the 30,000 circuits Sprint was to switch under the new Federal Technology Service contract, all but a few hundred at the Justice Department will be on the new pricing system and using the company's new services this week, said Tony D'Agata, vice president of Sprint's Government Systems Division.

WorldCom Inc., the other FTS 2001 vendor, expects to have all of its agencies switched before July. "We're just tying up a couple of stragglers," said spokeswoman Natasha Haubold.

At the end of May, AT&T — which held an FTS 2000 contract with Sprint but, unlike Sprint, did not win an award for FTS 2001 — refiled its claim that the General Services Administration changed the requirements of the FTS 2001 contract enough to invalidate the award. AT&T withdrew the protest from GSA's appeals process to file with the General Accounting Office, "primarily because we wanted to get it into a more formal process," said Wayne Jackson, AT&T's director of public relations.

AT&T wants GSA to withdraw the FTS 2001 awards and hold another competition for the contract.

Sprint and WorldCom were to have completed the transition to FTS 2001 by last December, but were delayed by Year 2000 computer problems and agencies that were slow to sign agreements, according to GSA officials.

Sprint and AT&T were awarded bridge contracts to extend services under FTS 2000 through the transition period. Sprint's bridge contract expires June 6. The AT&T bridge contract for WorldCom's transition expires Dec. 6.

GAO calculates that the transition delays have cost agencies more than $74 million and will mean the vendors will not meet their minimum revenue guarantees of $750 million each until at least late 2005. FTS is considering opening the contract later this year to more competitors.

NEXT STORY: AT&T takes FTS 2001 case to GAO

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