- June 1, 1996
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New Telecommunications Contract to Resemble Current Program
final request for proposals is due next month for the post-FTS 2000 procurement, which will replace the 10-year, $25 billion federal telecommunications program that expires in 1998. The General Services Administration says the new contracts, which are expected to be awarded next summer, will go to three vendors offering a comprehensive range of long-distance services.
Although bidders will have to compete for each package, a single bidder could win all three. Under a recently revised plan, the lead bidder will receive 40 percent of the business and the other two bidders each will take 30 percent.
Unlike the FTS 2000 contract, the follow-on program will not carry any mandatory-use provisions and will be open to state and local governments. Each of the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts will run 10 years, with provisions for internal recompetitions during the fourth and seventh years.
Agencies will be assigned to contractors but only will be required to buy switched-voice and dedicated-transmission services from them until minimum spending targets have been reached-then agencies may switch to other suppliers. Niche telecommunications services will be able to be acquired from any of the contracts' suppliers.
"We may add a procurement for value-added services as technologies evolve and the full effects of telecommunications reform are felt," says Robert J. Woods, commissioner of GSA's new Federal Telecommunications Service (FTS).
Last fall, GSA merged its local and long-distance telecommunications programs into FTS. Cuts in overhead have resulted in local phone service costs being reduced by more than $4 per line, with a total projected savings of about $25 million for fiscal 1996. GSA hopes eventually to cut local rates to $15 per line.