Networx transition woes: Dual contracts or dueling contracts?

In part two of our look at Networx transition woes, we look at Enterprise and Universal, once thought to be complementary contracts, increasing are seen as interchangeable.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part two of a three-part series that explores the transition from FTS 2001 to Networx.

Agencies wanted the FTS2001 replacement contract to play dual roles, and that’s just what the General Services Administration gave them with Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. But agencies may be getting more — and less — than they bargained for, Networx vendors say.

In theory, Networx Universal provides straightforward telecommunications services, while Networx Enterprise offered managed services, IP-centric services and other options to help agencies revamp their networks, not just transition their old FTS2001 service.

Instead, the two contracts increasingly more closely resemble each other. Today, the only real difference between the Enterprise “innovation contract” and Universal is that Enterprise allows for fewer wire centers and less robust feature sets, said Diana Gowen, senior vice president and general manager of Qwest Government Services. Universal carriers could duplicate on Enterprise everything they were making available on Universal, “which frankly is what Qwest, AT&T and Verizon did,” she said.

“GSA provided the contract vehicles; it’s up to the agencies to decide how to use them,” said Ed Morché, general manager and senior vice president of Level 3 Communications Inc.

Some experts say GSA could administratively direct an agency to consider all network awardees, regardless of whether they are Universal or Enterprise. As it stands, agency procurement officials must document the basis for their procurement decisions. “What we would like the agency to add to that procurement file is why, if they go with Universal, they didn’t choose Enterprise,” Morché said.

The acquisition process is complex, he said, and agencies are “going to need help from vendors to get through this process.” Working through Enterprise gives them access to the engineering staff and resources of five companies rather than Universal’s three.

With so little difference in the offerings of the two contracts, fiduciary prudence alone is enough reason for agencies to make Enterprise their default Networx contract, he said. “The whole reason we don’t do sole-source pricing on the agency side is to allow competition, because competition will drive pricing down,” Morché said. “If you believe that, and I think we all do, then you should believe that five vendors vying for business should drive pricing down and become more competitive than just three, [as on Universal].”

Karl Krumbholz, GSA deputy assistant commissioner for network services, refuses to be drawn into that discussion.

“I can’t comment on the extent to which all of the carriers would respond to any given statement of work nor what the result of that might be,” he said. That would depend on what agencies are seeking, what carriers are offering and which contract the service is on, he said. “It could be you’d get the same three vendors that are on Universal because the others don’t provide the service.”

Questions of one or two contracts and whether any particular company is capable of handling a particular task are beside the point, Krumbholz said, a faint note of exasperation slipping into his voice.

“The way the acquisition is done in government is you write requirements, and you allow all companies to compete and offer their best solution,” he said. “The government evaluates those proposals and chooses those it believes provide the best value. Once that decision is made, it’s done. And the next opportunity will come in the next acquisition. In the case of Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise, the opportunity to get a contract has passed.

“There’s no provision to change the rules in midstream,” he said. “There’s a lot of talk about the fact that that’s regrettable — specifically from those that did not win a contract, but all of the telecom vendors had the opportunity upfront to win a contract on Universal.”

During the Networx planning stage, Gowen supported a single Networx contract. But, she said, “the contract gurus at GSA said they just could not do that. That was a well-known fact when we were all competing — if you wanted to play in the Universal space, you needed to compete on that contract and win. We went into this eyes wide open; if we were not a competitor and a winner on Universal, we would probably be left with crumbs. That’s why we went full court press to make sure that we were competitive.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.