FTS, industry to hold open session on Networx

The General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service will hold an industry day Feb. 17 to gather feedback on its next-generation telecommunications contract, FTS Networx.

FTS has received more than 700 written comments from 48 companies in response to the Networx request for information that was released in October, according to John Johnson, GSA assistant commissioner for service development and acting assistant commissioner for service delivery.

The stakes are high: Networx has a $10 billion ceiling, according to Input Inc., a Reston, Va., research firm. The contract will replace FTS 2001, the GSA long-distance telecommunications contract now held by Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc. FTS 2001 is set to expire in December 2006.

FTS commissioner Sandra Bates said the agency already has held some industry meetings, but the Feb. 17 meeting is important because all of the FTS senior staff will attend, plus the directors from the New York, Philadelphia and National Capital regions.

'Many times solutions are revealed and new ideas are born through this dialogue,' Bates said. 'It's not like we're dealing with a group of people who all sing the same song, and none of them are shrinking violets.'

The responses to the RFI cover numerous topics, including technical aspects and operations, pricing, billing and the ability of small companies to participate in the contract.

The current structure for Networx proposes two phases. The first, Networx Universal, will be a multiple-award deal for a full range of nationwide and international services at all government locations and at commercial locations where the vendors offer service. FTS will make only a small number of awards in this phase.

Networx Select, the second phase, would be a multiple-award vehicle for vendors offering specific services or product niches. Small businesses also can bid on this portion.

The Networx working session will be held at the Marriott Tysons Corner in McLean, Va. Registration begins at 8 a.m., with the meeting getting under way at 9 a.m. Those interested in participating can register at the Industry Advisory Council Web site, www.iaconline.org, on the February 2004 calendar page.


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