FTS 2001 rings true for most federal users

FTS 2001 rings true for most federal users


The GCN Reader Survey is intended to provide data on trends and product preferences. This survey on telecom services is based on a telephone survey of 100 federal readers who on their subscription forms identified themselves as telecom services buyers.

Feds are going the distance for FTS 2001.

Almost two-thirds'60 percent'of federal IT managers contacted in a GCN telephone survey said their agencies use the Federal Technology Service's contracts for long-haul telecommunications services.

About 41 percent in the survey sample reported using FTS's other major telecom-services vehicles, the Metropolitan Area Acquisition contracts, which provide local telecom services to agencies.

Of the two FTS 2001 contract holders, Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc., Sprint held a slight edge in customer base in the survey, 54 percent to 46 percent.

Despite the prospect of another player coming on the federal telecom scene'the Interior Department's GovWorks, which will initially offer short-haul services'most feds GCN polled (60 percent) didn't see a pressing need for governmentwide telecom services outside of FTS.

Another 23 percent weren't sure or didn't have a strong opinion about additional telecom offerings.

Among the 17 percent who wanted more government vehicles, most liked the idea of having more choices and possibly lower rates and better services.

One fed GCN talked with who saw a need for governmentwide telecom offerings outside of FTS was a Forest Service computer specialist.

He wanted 'more choices to select the proper long-distance company.'

'It would minimize monopoly,' added a Defense Department computer specialist in Jacksonville, Fla.

At a Bureau of Land Management office in Moore, Okla., a computer specialist said additional governmentwide contract vehicles might lead to better overall quality.

Good grades overall

For the most part, managers in the survey gave their long-haul vendors (whether or not they were using FTS 2001) reasonably high marks for overall quality of service.

Sprint's 'quality of service is excellent,' said an Air Force computer engineer in Illinois who was among the 19 percent extolling vendors for top service.

More than half (56 percent) described their vendors' services as good; another 24 percent rated them average.

When asked, 34 percent of survey participants offered up some general complaints about telecom services.

For example, slow Internet access was the biggest gripe from an IRS computer specialist in Philadelphia. AT&T is the vendor in that office, the specialist said.

'Services are too slow,' echoed an Air Force network engineer at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, which uses Sprint for long-haul services under FTS 2001, the engineer said.

Aside from slow access, other main criticisms of telecom vendors included line or service quality and high rates.

But most feds canvassed had no major grievances about billing services from long-distance vendors: 97 percent found them adequate.

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