GSA awards six more pacts for local telecom

GSA awards six more pacts for local telecom

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

The pace of the General Services Administration's Metropolitan Area Acquisition program picked up with the award last month of competitive local telecommunications services contracts for four additional cities.

Contracts awarded for Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Los Angeles have the potential to save the government nearly $150 million over eight years compared with current government rates, according to the Federal Technology Service, which administers the program. Prices under the contracts for voice and data services have been cut by up to 72 percent.

WinStar Communications Inc. of New York was the sole winner of the Baltimore and Cincinnati contracts and will compete in Los Angeles with Pacific Bell Telephone of San Francisco. Ameritech Corp. of Chicago and AT&T Corp. were awarded contracts for Cleveland.

The awards bring the total number of cities with competitive MAA contracts to eight. There are 11 contracts held by five service providers. GSA has issued requests for proposals for 13 more cities.

AT&T swept the first-round awards for New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

The second round began with contracts to AT&T and Bell Atlantic Corp. for Buffalo, N.Y. GSA expects to award contracts soon for Miami, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Minneapolis.

Despite GSA's enthusiasm for the program, conversion to MAA service in New York has been slowed by complications related to the ownership of interior wiring. Unlike most markets, Bell Atlantic owns interior wiring in New York, and GSA must make separate arrangements for its use.

Government offices do not have to use the MAA contracts, but the contracts offer competitive pricing for local telephone service in the covered metro areas, with rates well below those previously available. Each of the contracts includes basic local voice service, as well as enhanced voice and data services and dedicated lines. There is no per-minute charge for government-to-government calls on a contractor's network, and all contractors offer number portability, so telephone numbers don't change when there is a switch to a new service provider.

The contracts call for technology upgrades and adjusted pricing through the four base years and four option years.

Dialing for dollars

The estimated value of the Baltimore contract is $320 million over the life of the contract. That represents potential savings of $44 million, a 62 percent reduction from current government rates. The Cincinnati contract is worth an estimated $100 over eight years, with a potential savings to the government of $36.6 million, a 72 percent savings. The value of the Cleveland contract is estimated at $150 million over eight years, offering a potential savings of $20 million, or 40 percent compared with current rates. The Los Angeles contract is valued at $200 million, with a potential savings of $47 million or 46 percent.


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