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GSA Opens Competition for Worldwide Long-Distance ServicesLong-distance Starts Today; Comments Requested by June 2 for Local Metro Area Services

GSA #9410

May 2, 1997
Contact: Bill Bearden
202-501-1231
bill.bearden@gsa.gov

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. General Services Administration today released a solicitation for worldwide long-distance telecommunications service (FTS2001) to replace its current nationwide contracts which expire in December 1998. GSA also released a request for comments by June 2 from offerors nationwide on its local service proposal for metropolitan area acquisitions (MAA).

The release of solicitations comes after many months of extensive exchanges of information and views among Congress, the Executive Branch agencies, industry, and GSA. These exchanges produced a set of general principles intended to broadly guide the development and implementation of the FTS telecommunications program.

"Because of the hard work of all stakeholders, we are now poised to step into the future," said Bob Woods, Commissioner of GSA's Federal Telecommunications Service. "The exchanges that resulted in the strategy for these solicitations was wrought on the anvil of collaboration and partnership. It is impossible to please everyone, but I think we have achieved a good balance."

Woods said that he is satisfied that the solicitations have an innovative approach that is market-driven, maximizes the use of private sector services and infrastructure, and provides agency users with maximum flexibility in selecting services to best meet their needs. "We now need to move toward implementation," he said, "so we can reap the benefits for our stockholders, the American taxpayer."

Representative Dan Burton, Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight which has jurisdiction over the Federal government's procurement laws said that he strongly endorses GSA going forward with the proposals. "I believe the Congress, GSA, and the vendors have done an outstanding job," he said. "This procurement promotes competition and innovation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for the federal government and the taxpayer."

Burton convened two full Committee hearings this year -- March 6 and March 12 -- which heard testimony from both government and industry representatives. He also called for a 30-day delay in solicitation from the intended April 2 release of proposals so stakeholders could meet in "consensus development" sessions.

Frank Lalley, Chairman of the Interagency Management Council for Telecommunications which acts as a board of directors for the FTS program, said, 'There is a lot to do to prepare to transition to new contracts and not much time." Lalley said that the IMC will form a transition work group this month, "to begin planning the process and details of the critical path that needs to be taken."

In partnership with the Interagency Management Council, the FTS program provides Government users with up-to-date, cost-effective, and efficient telecommunications services. The program comprises many contracts and acquisition activities, of which FTS2001 is one. The scope of each contract will include all telecommunications services necessary for the Government to satisfy its worldwide telecommunications requirements for the life of the contract. The scope also includes technological enhancements, service improvements, and all new and/or emerging telecommunications service offerings that arise during the term of the contracts.

The FTS2001 procurement is expected to result in one or more, up to three, large contacts. One of the largest non-defense procurements ever awarded by the government, the FTS2001 contract value is estimated at between $5 and $8 billion over the life of the contract, which is four base years plus four one-year extensions at the option of the government.

Each FTS2001 contract will be for the use of all Federal agencies, authorized Federal contractors, agency-sponsored universities and laboratories, other organizations as appropriate, and, when authorized by law or regulation, state, local, and tribal Governments.

The FTS2001 contracts are indefinite quantity, indefinite delivery with firm fixed prices that may not be raised by the contractor, but may be lowered in response to competitive or market pressures.

The contract duration for both FTS2001 and MAA are the same, four base years with four one-year options.

Comments are being sought by June 2 on the draft MAA proposal from all potential offerors nationwide since GSA plans to use standardized solicitation documents for multiple competitive acquisitions around the country. These contracts are expected to lower costs by taking advantage of favorable environments in areas with large Federal presence.

Each solicitation is available on the Internet at http://post.fts2k.gsa.gov (for FTS2001) and at http://www.gsa.gov/maa (for MAA). For additional contract specific information on FTS2001 call Sybille Seltmann on (703) 610-2805; for MAA call Robert Hayhurst on (703) 610-2234.

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