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GSA Releases Amendment to Worldwide Long-Distance Telecommunications Solicitation Establishes New Core Services; Sets New Deadlines

GSA # 9445

October 31, 1997
Contact: Bill Bearden
(202) 501-1231; bill.bearden@gsa.gov


Washington, DC - The U.S. General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service (FTS) today issued a major amendment to its solicitation for worldwide long-distance telecommunications service. The amendment establishes new core services with an award projected for next summer.

Known as FTS2001, the contract is designed to serve as the Federal government's primary source of supply for long-distance telecommunications services into the next century. The amendment incorporates extensive changes suggested by interested parties following the May 2, 1997 solicitation issuance.

The amendment is designed to allow offerors to make maximum use of commercial services and practices when designing solutions to the government's requirements. A large number of requirements in the original solicitation have been either relaxed, removed, clarified, or made optional in response to comments from industry. The acquisition will now concentrate on the more basic switched voice and data services and dedicated transmission services.

"We are confident, that through the joint efforts of the Government and our Industry Partners, we have achieved the proper balance between satisfying the special telecommunications needs of the Federal government and allowing sufficient flexibility for industry to design solutions based on commercial service models," said FTS Commissioner Robert J. Woods.

Of the 19 services in the initial solicitation, nine are now identified as optional services which do not have to be bid. These newly-defined optional services will either be obtained from FTS2001 contractors, through future contract modifications, from existing contracts, or through other acquisitions. The optional services were a relatively small part of the overall value of the FTS2001 contracts, but they added significant complexity and potential costs for offerors. One small service, federal relay for the hearing impaired, has been removed and will be acquired through a separate contract.

Changes also were made which will help assure that the government is able to leverage its position as the country's largest user of telecommunications services to obtain the best possible prices for the taxpayers. The amendment increases the minimum revenue guarantee under the contract(s) from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. The FTS2001 contract value remains in the estimated range of $5 to $8 billion over its four-year base plus four option years.

Other changes were made in order to assure that rigorous competition is obtained through the acquisition. The amendment changes the number of potential contract awards from up to three, to up to two awards to up to two contractors. Each award will have a minimum revenue guarantee of $750 million and both awards could be made to a single contractor. This change, coupled with the increase in the minimum revenue guarantee, will encourage potential bidders to offer more competitive pricing by being assured more revenue if their offers are successful.

"We are anxious to get the FTS2001 program moving rapidly forward toward contract award and implementation in order to take advantage of its exciting new service offerings and the best rates in the industry," said Woods.

With release of this amendment, a new schedule for the FTS2001 acquisition has been established. The new due date for receipt of technical, management, and business proposals is February 13, 1998, and price proposals are due March 17, 1998. Contract award is projected for the summer of 1998.

The solicitation is available on the Internet at http://post.fts2k.gsa.gov. For additional contract specific information, call Sybille Seltmann on (703) 610-2805.