FTS maps local and long-distance crossover plans

FTS maps local and long-distance crossover plans

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

JULY 2'Federal Technology Service executives met last week with telecommunications representatives to lay out the process for crossover between local and long-distance programs that could bring more competition into the federal telecom market late this summer.

'It was an exciting step forward toward crossover,' said John C. Johnson, FTS' assistant commissioner for services development. 'We have defined the process for moving forward.'

FTS will accept industry comments until July 17 and will respond in a report by Aug. 3. The target date for having procedures in place and accepting vendor proposals for additional services is Aug. 17, although that could change depending on the comments received, Johnson said.

FTS administers the FTS 2001 long-haul program and the Metropolitan Area Acquisitions program for local service. FTS 2001 contractors are Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc.; 38 MAA contracts are in place in 21 metropolitan areas.

The goal since 1997 has been to let contractors offer services under both programs, creating competitive end-to-end service. But no crossovers have been approved to date, angering many of the MAA vendors. Now that agencies' transitions to the FTS 2001 contracts are virtually complete, FTS has been under congressional pressure to allow crossovers.

FTS officials told the Industry Advisory Council's telecommunications interest group that contractors wanting to move from one program to another should meet all original contract requirements for existing services. Proposals for new services will be evaluated separately.

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