Networx contract makes it easy for agencies to find contractors to help upgrade communications systems
Now that nearly all federal agencies are finally transitioning from the FTS 2001 contract for telephony services to Networx, a growing number of government organizations are exploring the new contract vehicle for everything from IP-based communications to cloud services.
Officials at 90 percent of agencies have made fair-opportunity decisions, and 95 percent have completed statements of work, according to the latest update from the General Services Administration in December 2011. Those preliminary steps enable agencies to then select suppliers under the Networx contract.
With the transition well in hand, the big news on Networx is the growing use of the contract vehicle for cloud-based unified communications services, especially under Networx Enterprise, which was specifically created to deliver next-generation IP services.
“These solutions give government agencies the ability to diversify their presence outside traditional major metropolitan hubs,” said Edward Morche, senior vice president of Level 3 Communications’ Federal Markets Group. “The resiliency and speed of large-scale fiber-optic networks allow agencies to reduce the number of data centers required to maintain their services.”
Morche added that the growing use of Networx Enterprise for cloud-based UC services would allow agencies to securely connect to more remote regions in the United States.
Industry experts recommend the following steps for government organizations still working on their transition to Networx:
1. Finalize an inventory of your current telecom-related services.
2. Choose between the Networx Enterprise and Universal contracts.
3. Convert your existing inventory to Networx-based contract line item numbers.
4. Conduct fair-opportunity processes.
5. Evaluate carrier responses.
GSA is already working on the parameters of a successor contract to Networx, currently dubbed NS2020. However, details remain sketchy, and the expiration of the current contract is still five years away.