Qwest is first to migrate from MAA to FTS 2001

Qwest is first to migrate from MAA to FTS 2001

Qwest Communications International Inc. is the first company to cross over from the General Services Administration's local telephone service program to its long-distance program.

The move came as a modification to the Denver company's Metropolitan Area Acquisition contract for Boise, Idaho. Qwest now can offer Web hosting nationwide to users of GSA's FTS 2001 program.

The company, which also holds MAA contracts for Albuquerque, N.M., Denver and Minneapolis, has long wanted into the FTS 2001 market held by Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc., said James F.X. Payne, Qwest's senior vice president for government markets.

Since telecom deregulation began, GSA has planned to offer agencies competitive, end-to-end local and long-distance service. MAA contracts for local service are now in place in 24 cities. GSA can approve contract modifications for three types of crossover: an MAA contractor entering another MAA market, an FTS 2001 contractor entering a MAA market, or an MAA contractor entering the long-distance market. Qwest's is the first crossover from MAA to FTS 2001.

Modification is not competitive; contractors submit proposed prices, and GSA negotiates terms of service. There are no revenue guarantees or value estimates for a crossover modification.

'Qwest decided to take this issue on about a year ago,' Payne said. 'It took quite a bit of time to sort things out.'

Emerging services

Once the crossover policy had been established, negotiating the modification with GSA took about six weeks, Payne said. Although Qwest could have offered the basic services specified in the FTS 2001 contracts or enhanced them, it opted instead for what GSA has called emerging service'a category with fewer requirements.

'Because you're the first, you get to define the landscape,' Payne said. Qwest will continue to focus on emerging services in additional contract modifications.

Qwest had already been hosting the Mint's online coin purchasing site for two years when the contract modification took effect. The government sector is a significant portion of Qwest's hosting revenue based on relatively few big accounts, Payne said. 'It's not been as broad as I would like,' he said. 'This is an effort to broaden it out.'

After Sept. 11, Payne said, many agencies re-examined their preparedness and decided they needed more than single lines to data centers or single points of operation for critical functions.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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