Denver Federal Center via Google Earth

GSA seeks partners for shared network at Denver Federal Center

The General Services Administration is looking for feedback from network technology firms on its plan to build and manage a comprehensive network for the Denver Federal Center (DFC), host of the largest concentration of federal agencies outside Washington, D.C.

The DFC, located in Lakewood, Colo., supports 6,000 employees of 28 different federal agencies working in 55 buildings across a sprawling 670 acre campus.

The systems and networks supporting the center have developed in a “hodge-podge” fashion over the years, according to the  request for information from GSA on the feasibility of building a large-scale shared network infrastructure at the DFC.

To date the DFC networks have been pieced together with little or no documentation, said GSA, making network problems harder to fix. Network outages have occurred due to cut cabling because documentation did not exist, it said.

Although people have been assessing a comprehensive campus network on the DFC grounds for about 20 years, the importance of a network has become acute lately as the GSA becomes more concerned with cost reduction.

“For tenant and GSA managers to drive today’s business strategies they will need access to a secure and maintained shared networks,” according to the RFI.

GSA said it also wants to make a compelling case “to prevent tenants from creating their own often costlier and less reliable networks.”

It has said its research has also shown that there is “overwhelming demand” from its tenants and agency customers for a “robust, converged, diverse and cost effective network for the GSA.

The RFI solicits information on whether companies would be willing to “design, supply and manage a scalable campuswide and building local-area network solution where GSA could serve as a broker of voice, video and data services at no upfront cost to government.”

It also wants firms with the ability to “dynamically allocate network bandwidth and provision services by agency and building.”

GSA currently has local service agreements in place for voice, video and data services, and it wants to use a new network infrastructure backbone to provision the services to federal customers located in buildings across the campus.

GSA also wants the network infrastructure contractor to allow for any other carrier to provision services over the network for a fee. After a predetermined amount of time, management of the network would be re-competed and a new awardee would manage the DFC infrastructure.

GSA said it was looking for a “way to provide the best service to our federal customers at the lowest possible cost.” The network would have to be “fully redundant, diverse, resilient, managed and FISMA compliant.”

Editor's note: The headline on this article was changed July 7 to remove confusion with the Denver Megacenter.

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