GAO denies Qwest protest of FTS 2000 extensions

GAO denies Qwest protest of FTS 2000 extensions<@VM>GAO denies Qwest protest of FTS 2000 extensions

By William Jackson

GCN Staff

JULY 5'The General Accounting Office has dismissed a challenge to sole-source contract extensions for FTS 2000 providers Sprint Corp. and AT&T Corp.

Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver protested that it should have had a chance to compete for the business. GAO disagreed, saying Qwest was unable to meet requirements for the contracts and did not qualify as an interested party.

The General Services Administration extended the FTS 2000 long-haul service contracts for two years in December 1998 to give agencies time to move over to the new FTS 2001 contracts awarded to Sprint and WorldCom Inc. When the transition still was incomplete last December, the old contracts were extended by an additional year for AT&T and six months for Sprint.

GSA defended its use of sole-source extensions, saying that only the incumbents were capable of meeting all requirements. Qwest protested, and GSA dismissed the protest. Qwest refiled with GAO.

The extensions required contractors to provide long-distance service throughout the United States. Qwest, which acquired the regional Bell operating company U.S. West Communications Inc. last year, is barred from providing long distance in U.S. West's former 14-state territory.

GAO concluded that Qwest's plan to use a subcontractor in the 14-state area would not receive Federal Communications Commission approval and that the company therefore could not have met contract requirements.
By William Jackson

GCN Staff

JULY 5'The General Accounting Office has dismissed a challenge to sole-source contract extensions for FTS 2000 providers Sprint Corp. and AT&T Corp.

Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver protested that it should have had a chance to compete for the business. GAO disagreed, saying Qwest was unable to meet requirements for the contracts and did not qualify as an interested party.

The General Services Administration extended the FTS 2000 long-haul service contracts for two years in December 1998 to give agencies time to move over to the new FTS 2001 contracts awarded to Sprint and WorldCom Inc. When the transition still was incomplete last December, the old contracts were extended by an additional year for AT&T and six months for Sprint.

GSA defended its use of sole-source extensions, saying that only the incumbents were capable of meeting all requirements. Qwest protested, and GSA dismissed the protest. Qwest refiled with GAO.

The extensions required contractors to provide long-distance service throughout the United States. Qwest, which acquired the regional Bell operating company U.S. West Communications Inc. last year, is barred from providing long distance in U.S. West's former 14-state territory.

GAO concluded that Qwest's plan to use a subcontractor in the 14-state area would not receive Federal Communications Commission approval and that the company therefore could not have met contract requirements.

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