Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

A link that should have been missing

I am writing in response to the article 'N.Y. telecom services halted by wiring snafu' [GCN, March 20, Page 3].

Factually, the article is accurate and describes two complicated issues succinctly. However, as presented, the article appears to link what are two unrelated matters. The building wiring issue that is affecting the transition of federal customers to the New York Metropolitan Area Acquisition contract held by AT&T Corp. is unrelated to the voluntary consent decree that Bell Atlantic Corp. entered into with federal regulators this year. The consent decree addressed concerns raised about the performance of the company's wholesale operating support systems in New York state.

In New York City, the interior wiring in federal buildings, referred to as house and riser cable, is owned by Bell Atlantic. The charge for agencies' use of that cable is a government-mandated tariff. The New York MAA contract made no provisions for the use of the interior wiring. Two options are available: payment in accordance with the tariff or outright purchase of the wiring. Bell Atlantic Federal stands ready to proceed once AT&T and the General Services Administration have determined their preferred method of resolving this matter.

The voluntary consent decree is related to software problems that Bell Atlantic and its New York wholesale customers discovered this year. These software difficulties affected our ability to provide automatic notification to wholesale customers regarding the status of orders. Since that time, Bell Atlantic has worked tirelessly to correct the problem by increasing the capacity of its wholesale operating systems and developing new software. The voluntary payments agreed to in the consent decree are in no way related to the house and riser cable issue.

In addition, I would like to comment on the cartoon that appears on Page 24 of the same issue. The cartoon implies that Bell Atlantic Federal is delaying full implementation of the Washington Interagency Telecommunications System 2001 contract. The WITS 2001 contract is under protest, and the General Accounting Office is reviewing the award of the contract.

Until GSA has received and acted upon the formal GAO report, Bell Atlantic Federal will continue to provide telecommunications service to federal agencies in the Washington area under the continuity of service contract issued in July.

Upon resolution of the protest, Bell Atlantic Federal looks forward to the successful implementation of the WITS 2001 contract.

Barbara L. Connor

President, federal systems

Bell Atlantic Network Services Inc.


Wound up over old tape

As a 21-year information technology professional, I am always amazed at how difficult it still is to wean customers and users away from nine-track, reel magnetic tape. It was considered archaic when I entered the data processing field in 1979.

As we enter a new century, it is time to consign such dinosaurs of data storage to history. There is not a government agency that is not struggling to bring itself up-to-date with this storage problem.

The use of nine-track magnetic tape has, in truth, become a very comfortable habit or tradition. And, yes, the devices used with the tape have long since paid for themselves'except for the constant maintenance they require.

This is less about money than pure efficiency. I challenge customers, users and all agencies to look ahead and advance away from nine-track magnetic tape devices. It is past time to leave the Stone Age in data storage.

Joe Hammell

Unix systems analyst and retired Army staff sergeant

Waynesboro, Pa.

GCN welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be typed double-spaced and must include name, address, telephone number and signature of the author. Send to: Letters to the Editor, Government Computer News, Suite 300, 8601 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Md. 20910.


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