Government Opens One-Stop Telecom Shop

Government Opens One-Stop Telecom Shop

By Shannon Henry
Staff Writer

Government agencies have already made more than $50 million worth of telecommunications orders on a contract awarded just two weeks ago by the General Services Administration.

While those orders are unofficial, the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract is expected to be used widely by government agencies to build communications among themselves and between agencies and the public, sources said.

It's an unusual arrangement - the first of its kind to consolidate all requirements for telecom infrastructure - and one that federal agencies, based on their immediate response, are embracing.

"It presents the agency with the maximum amount of flexibility," said Joseph Romanelli, the GSA's program officer on this project. "The agencies will orchestrate their own deals." The GSA's Federal Technology Service will administer the contract.

Winners of the wide-ranging Wire and Cable Services Contract, a five-year deal potentially worth $2.6 billion, are:

John Ballenger, president of GTI's holding company, Computer Equity Corp.

Engineering and Professional Services Inc., Tinton Falls, N.J.; GTE Government Systems Corp. in Needham Heights, Mass.; and Government Telecommunications Inc., Chantilly, Va.

While traditional telecom contracts might require an agency to get, for instance, fiber from one source, integration services from another and software from yet another company, this contract, known by the acronym WACS, lets the agency buy every product and service needed from one firm. "It's a one-stop shop," said John Ballenger, president of GTI's holding company, Computer Equity Corp. in Chantilly, Va.

This is the largest win yet for GTI, a privately held $30 million telecom services and equipment company that was formed in 1986. "It's a major happening for us. It's an all-encompassing telecom contract," said Ballenger.

GTI, which now has "under 100" employees, plans to hire about 100 more over the next year to meet expected demand from this contract.

Ballenger said he hopes the win will lead to other large contract awards. "We're a little company with big ideas and a big success," he said. "Once you've won one of these, it opens many opportunities," he said.

Awarded: Dec. 5 by the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service
Worth: Up to $2.6 billion
Type of Contract: IDIQ
Awarded To: Engineering and Professional Services Inc., Tinton Falls, N.J.; Government Telecommunications Inc., Chantilly, Va.; GTE Government Systems Corp., Needham Heights, Mass.
For Use By: All federal agencies and tribal governments in the continental United States and Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Timetable: Five years (three years, plus two one-year options)
Types of Services: Copper and fiber optic wiring; communications hardware and software; integration services
Each of the three prime contractors is expected to use numerous other businesses, including telcos and systems integrators, as subcontractors. On GTI's team are regional Bell operating companies Bell Atlantic Corp. in Philadelphia; SBC Communications Inc., San Antonio; US West in Englewood, Colo.; as well as systems integrator Anstec Inc. in McLean, Va.

GTE is working from a list of 80-some subcontractors, company officials said. The telco is expected to give 40 percent of its subcontracting work to small businesses, with 5 percent of that going to groups designated as disadvantaged and 5 percent to women-owned businesses. The main subcontractor that EPS intends to use so far is MFS Communications in Omaha, Neb., which is owned by Jackson, Miss.-based WorldCom Inc.

There were 157 bidders on the contract, a relatively short list, said Romanelli. Losing bidders include Lucent Technologies in Murray Hill, N.J.; MCI Communications Corp. in Washington; Kansas City, Mo.-based Sprint Corp.; BellSouth Corp. in Atlanta; Bell Atlantic and Cabletron Systems Inc. in Rochester, N.H., according to data on the World Wide Web site of market research firm Input of Vienna, Va.

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