FAA plans draft RFP for telecom upgrade

FAA plans draft RFP for telecom upgrade

By Frank Tiboni

GCN Staff

The Federal Aviation Administration next month will release a draft request for proposals for a $1.9 billion upgrade of its telecommunications infrastructure.

The agency plans to revamp its communications systems in two phases under the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure program. As part of its preparations, the agency is seeking industry comments on FTI by releasing the draft, said Dave Joyce, FAA's product team leader for the procurement.

FAA sets FTI timetable

  • September: Release draft Phase 1 RFP
  • October: Receive comments on draft
  • November: Release final Phase 1 RFP
  • December: FTI Industry Day
  • January: Receive Phase 1 proposals
  • March: Choose three vendors to compete in Phase 2
  • April: Release Phase 2 RFP
  • December 2000: Award FTI contract

FAA has more than 35,000 circuits that need to be replaced.

The agency also wants to ensure continued operations and mission-support functions for its 5,000 facilities, said Sue Handy, FTI contracting officer.

Besides data transport functions, FTI vendors will upgrade FAA's switching and routing services, improve network monitoring and control, and provide network engineering services, Handy said.

The agency plans to use a two-phase selection process for FTI. In Phase 1, FAA will evaluate vendors' proposals on specific categories of information identified by the agency, then the agency contracting team will whittle the list of potential contractors to three, Joyce said.

Vendors advancing to Phase 2 will have to submit detailed designs and plans, he said.

The 15-year contract will have a three-year base period and 12 one-year options. FAA plans to award the contract in December 2000, Handy said.

The agency has worked on FTI's mission, vision and strategic plan for the past two years. FAA's Joint Resources Council approved the program on July 13, said Roger Martino, FTI acquisition lead.

Two factors are driving the program: Many of the agency's telecommunications systems have reached the end of their lifecycle, and several of the agency's leasing services contracts are nearing their end, Martino said.

Through FTI, FAA will consolidate the Leased Interfacility National Air Space Communications Systems (LINCS), Data Transmission Network 2000, Data Multiplexing Network and National Data Interchange Network, Martino said. LINCS, which is the largest part of FAA's telecommunications infrastructure, is managed by MCI WorldCom Inc.

An advantage

'We want the program to take advantage of emerging technologies and associated downward trends in telecommunications service pricing while meeting the FAA's current and future traffic and performance requirements for operational and mission support,' Joyce said.

The agency will post the draft RFP on its Web site, at www.faa.gov/ats/af/tipt/fics21


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