Keeping Up With FTS2001

Keeping Up With FTS2001

Steve LeSueur

I don't know about you, but I sometimes find it extremely difficult to follow the ongoing dispute over the General Services Administration's FTS2001 long-distance program.

First, the number of different players and contracts makes it very confusing. WorldCom and Sprint hold the FTS2001 contract, but Sprint, along with AT&T, also held the FTS2000 contract. And because the transition to FTS2001 isn't complete, both AT&T and Sprint have been awarded bridge contracts that extend their FTS2000 contracts, but at higher prices.

Complicating the matter is the fact that the FTS2001 contract is not mandatory, and so companies like AT&T and Qwest are pressing the GSA to open up FTS2001 to competition. Qwest also has filed a protest against GSA's decision to award the contract extensions to AT&T and Sprint.

Anyway, the battle over the FTS2001 program is moving to Capitol Hill, where Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of a House Reform subcommittee, is preparing to examine whether FTS2001 will be able to achieve its twin goals of improving service and cutting costs. A draft General Accounting Office report, unreleased but circulating throughout industry, suggests that the program will not. The GSA is not commenting on the report, but the agency will surely testify at Davis' planned April 26 hearing.

You can read about the latest maneuverings among the key participants in Staff Writer Patience Wait's front-page article.


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