GSA awards eight-year contract for D.C.-area telecommunications

GSA awards eight-year contract for D.C.-area telecommunications

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

The General Services Administration last month awarded the Washington Interagency Telecommunication System 2001 contract to Bell Atlantic Corp.

The eight-year contract, potentially worth more than $1 billion, is the fourth of 20 contracts for local telecommunications service across the country. But the WITS 2001 contract is the largest because of the prominence of the federal government in the Washington region. The contract will provide a wide range of telecommunications services to agencies in the national capital region.

Dennis J. Fischer, commissioner of GSA's Federal Technology Service, said the contract is evidence that competition in the telecommunications industry is helping GSA drive down costs for agencies.

'It's part of a whole, comprehensive strategy to say that as the market becomes more competitive, we want to be there to take advantage of that competition,' Fischer said.

The WITS 2001 contract falls under GSA's Metropolitan Area Acquisitions program. AT&T Corp. has already won MAA contracts in New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

Bell Atlantic won the recompete of the WITS 2001 contract, which was originally awarded in 1989 to C&P Telephone Co., now Bell Atlantic.

'That first WITS contract was basically a voice contract,' said Barbara Connor, president of Bell Atlantic's federal division. 'With the passage of time and the change of regulations, all the convergence that has been talked about has really taken place.'

Wider scope

As a result, GSA has increased the scope of the contract, creating a vehicle for agencies to buy voice, data, video and Internet services, she said. The contract also includes switched multimegabit data service, asynchronous transfer mode and frame relay services, voice and video teleconferencing, and high-speed Internet access.

The contract has a four-year base and four one-year options.

Fischer said the contract would help agencies save on telecom services in the Washington area.

Customers now pay about $13.75 a month per phone line. The price will drop to $7.68 next year, he said.


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