The dawning of the Age of Networx

Nick Wakeman

Once every decade or so, a contract comes along that has the potential to remake an industry. If you win, it's a validation of your strategy as well as a confidence and financial booster for several years to come. If you lose, well, you have to make what can be painful adjustments.

The General Services Administration's huge Networx telecommunications contract is just such a deal. Four formidable teams, led by AT&T Corp., MCI Inc., Sprint Nextel Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc., are competing to win spots on it. At least two, and perhaps all four, will win, but that's just the beginning ? over the next 10 years, they'll be duking it out with each other to win task orders. The ceiling on the contract is set at a whopping $20 billion, so there'll be a lot to compete over.

The importance of Networx is reflected in our reporting this issue. Staff Writer Roseanne Gerin teamed with Washington Post Staff Writer Arshad Mohammed for a first-of-its-kind collaboration. The Post, our parent company, will publish a version of this Networx story in its Oct. 10 issue.

We'll also be hosting an online forum at noon, Oct. 13 with John Okay and Robert Woods, two former high-ranking GSA officials, who will field questions about Networx and how it is unfolding.

With the awards expected in June for Networx Universal and September for Networx Enterprise, 2006 promises to be a watershed year for government telecommunications and networking providers. We'll be here watching, but use this issue as your playbill.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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