Networx gears begin to turn
Now the real work begins for the winners of Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise. The award phase of the General Services Administration's massive telecommunications services contract ended May 31, when the agency announced that all five bidders had won spots on Networx Enterprise.
AT&T Inc., Level 3 Communications Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc., Sprint Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. are on the contract. GSA had previously awarded Networx Universal to AT&T, Qwest and Verizon.
The Networx program is the successor to GSA's FTS 2001 program, which is nearing expiration. Agencies will have about two years to move their services from the old contract vehicle to the new.
Networx has a life span of 10 years and an estimated value of about $20 billion. It covers voice, IP, wireless and satellite services. GSA plans to use the contract to move federal agencies from older communications technologies to new networks based on IP and Multiprotocol Label Switching.
"With this award and other recent awards, we're bringing our customers the full range of options for telecommunication services available," said Jim Williams, commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service.
Networx Universal has 37 mandatory services and 11 optional ones, and it requires vendors to provide services to federal offices worldwide. Networx Enterprise is intended as a vehicle for more specialized and localized services. It has only 10 mandatory services but includes specifications for 42 optional offerings.
Winning a spot on Networx Enterprise is redemption of sorts for Sprint, which was the sole bidder not to win a spot on Networx Universal. Level 3 only bid on Networx Enterprise.
The five companies will compete with one another for task orders under the two Networx components. They are currently testing their back-end systems to ensure that they meet GSA's specifications.
Agencies are developing transition strategies and comparing pricing and the range of services that each contract offers.
Michael Hardy is the online managing editor of FCW. Connect with him on Twitter: @MichaelHardyNet.
Matthew Weigelt is a former FCW senior writer who covered acquisition and procurement.