Competitive telecom services now available under WITS 2001

The General Services Administration has approved the first crossover to provide government users with competitive services in the Washington area.

Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver won a modification in an existing contract that will let it offer services under the Washington Interagency Telecommunications Services 2001 program. The company's first offering under the contract will be dedicated Internet access.

WITS 2001 provides telecom services to agencies in Washington and surrounding areas in Maryland and Virginia. GSA awarded the original contract, valued at more than $1 billion, to Verizon Communications Inc. of New York.

WITS is part of GSA's Metropolitan Area Acquisition program, which offers competitive local phone service to federal users in select cities. GSA's policy of increasing competition and service offerings lets any holder of an MAA, WITS 2001 or FTS 2001 contract request a modification to extend service to other cities or programs.

Qwest won an eight-year MAA contract for Seattle in May 2002. GSA and Qwest negotiated a modification that will let the company offer services in the Washington area through May 2010.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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