FTS extends informal deadline for moving to FTS 2001

FTS extends informal deadline for moving to FTS 2001

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

DALLAS, APRIL 6—Sandra Bates, in her first appearance as commissioner of the Federal Technology Service, extended the deadline for agencies to move to the FTS 2001 long-distance communications contract by three months, or through September of this year.

Bates, who recently replaced Dennis J. Fischer as commissioner, announced the change during her keynote address Tuesday at the FTS Networking Services Conference. The previous deadline had been June. Bates said she is satisfied with the way the transition is going, with about 30 percent of federal agencies having moved from the old FTS 2000 contract to FTS 2001. But, she added, the process needs to move more quickly.

"We will be going in the same direction, but we are going to pick up that pace a lot," Bates said.

Even the new deadline is an informal one. Agencies do not have to use the FTS 2001 contracts, awarded more than a year ago to Sprint Corp. and MCI Worldcom Inc. "But the reality is, if an agency chooses to do something other than FTS 2001, they need to make sure they have a contract in place no later than Dec. 6," when the current bridge contracts expire, Bates said. "Dec. 6 is our absolute drop-dead date."

Federal officials said the lack of resources committed by Sprint and MCI WorldCom has slowed the transition, as have problems with billing, inadequate service and equipment inventories on the part of agencies, and delays in getting access to loops controlled by local exchange carriers.

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