End-to-end service when?

End-to-end service when?

When the Federal Technology Service wrote separate long-distance and local telecommunications contracts, the plan was that carriers under both contracts would eventually offer the government end-to-end services.

'That's still our goal,' FTS commissioner Sandra Bates said. 'That strategy remains solid today. But nobody has crossed over to do end-to-end yet.'

Opening up local loops to competition, a prerequisite to combining local and long-distance services, has proved more complex than expected. And weaning federal agencies from the old FTS 2000 long-haul contracts to the nonmandatory FTS 2001 program has taken much longer than expected.

Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc., which won the FTS 2001 long-distance contracts in December 1998 and January 1999, respectively, have guaranteed minimum revenues of $1.5 billion. They have no local-service rivals'yet.

FTS is taking its first steps toward end-to-end service, however. It is opening the first three Metropolitan Area Acquisition local-service contracts, awarded to AT&T Corp. for New York, Chicago and San Francisco, to other phone companies.

Crossover between local and long-distance contracts could happen this year, once the FTS 2001 transition is done.

'It is our intent at that time to open up and allow new entries,' Bates said.

About 90 percent of agencies have switched long-distance circuits to the new contract, and the latest deadline for completing the governmentwide job is June 6.

The delays have cut revenue estimates for the FTS 2001 contractors. Bates estimated that the minimum revenue guarantees probably would not be met until the fifth or sixth year of FTS 2001.

'I don't look at that as a barrier' to other companies' entrance, Bates said. 'It is something to be managed, and part of managing that is managing the transition.'

'William Jackson


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