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GSA Issues FTS Program Strategy and Business Plan Analyses Report to Congress

GSA #9365

December 2, 1996
Contact: Bill Bearden
(202) 501-1231
Internet: bill.bearden@gsa.gov

GSA's Federal Telecommunications Service (FTS) has issued The GSA Report to Congress on the FTS Program Strategy and Business Plan Analyses. The report details GSA's strategy for expanding and replacing telecommunications services to Federal agencies after the current FTS2000 contracts expire in December 1998. The strategy will enable the Federal Government to take advantage of increased competition and regulatory changes as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It will also provide for near-term separate competitions for local and long-distance services, and a competition by approximately 2001 for nationwide end-to-end services.

"The strategy, which draws on our successful FTS2000 experience, uses market forces and competition to help provide the best quality telecommunications services at the lowest price," said FTS Commissioner Bob Woods. "The strategy also provides the Government with the flexibility necessary to deal with the changing telecommunications market and dynamic regulatory environment."

The released report documents the chronology of the development process, which began in 1993, and the evolution of the strategy. The report, prepared in accordance with the Conference Report accompanying the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Bill for 1997, also presents business plan analyses for the components of the strategy as requested in Senator Stevens' letter to GSA dated October 15, 1996. Various questions raised by Members of Congress during the past year were also addressed.

In his transmittal letter to Members of Congress, GSA's Acting Administrator David J. Barram wrote, "I know of no precedent in government acquisitions for the level of involvement by all interested parties, especially industry, which has actively participated in numerous conferences and forums designed to exchange substantive ideas, many of which have been incorporated within the approach described in the report. This strategy is as much industry's as the Government's."

The FTS strategy detailed in the report is comprised of several elements:
A near-term competition for long distance-services only (FTS2001), followed in four years (or as soon as nationwide markets for end-to-end services develop) by a competition for both local and long-distance services nationwide.

Near-term competitions for local services in major markets. These Metropolitan Area Acquisition (MAA's), the first of which is being held in New York City, are scheduled to begin in 1997. Additional MAA's covering about 80 percent of Federal users are to be completed by 1999.
Additional "niche" acquisitions for specific and limited telecommunications services where special conditions exist.

Contracts for support services.

By approximately 2001, concurrent with the expiration of the four-year base period for FTS2001, a new competition will be conducted to obtain end-to-end services from one set of contracts.
All competitions will be open to all companies.

The strategy is based on the principle of the Government as a "smart shopper" for goods and services that leverages the Government's buying power to strike the best deal for commercial-grade services.

The report will be available via the Internet on December 4, 1996, at http://post.fts2k.gsa.gov.