GSA, Firms Team on Telecom Initiatives

GSA, Firms Team on Telecom Initiatives

By Jennifer Freer, Staff Writer

DALLAS ? The General Services Administration and its industry partners early this month launched two new telecommunications programs aimed at making it easier for federal agencies to acquire new products and services online.

One of the programs, a Web site called Smallbizmall.gov, is a first-of-its-kind e-commerce mall for federal agencies. The other program, The Wireless Store, is an online source for federal government employees to purchase wireless products and services.

These new services were unveiled at the GSA/FTS Network Services Conference, "A Symphony of Solutions," held April 3-7 by the Federal Technology Service, the branch of GSA that provides its customers with information technology solutions and network services.

Launched April 3, Smallbizmall.gov provides federal agencies the opportunity to shop on the Web for information technology products and services from small and disadvantaged businesses and 8(a) companies. It also provides 8(a) companies the chance to fulfill government orders on the Internet.

Smallbizmall.gov began with a pilot program April 3 with nine industry partners. The partners include A&T Systems Inc., CC-OPS IT Services and Enterprise Networking Solutions, Dataline Inc., Force 3 Inc., High Technology Solutions, Information Systems Support Inc., New Technology Management Inc., Universal Technical Resources Services and Wyandotte Network Communications.

Each partner holds a multiple-award indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract with the FTS Small Business Center in Kansas City, Mo. The pilot will run through June. Once the pilot is over, all vendors will be invited to participate with the mall.

CeKa, an 8(a) company in Vienna, Va., and onlinesuppliers.com Corp., also of Vienna, developed an acquisition method for the site, called Acquisition 2000 Plus. The technology provides government buyers with comparison shopping, quantity discounts, secure transactions and online account management.

The FTS Wireless Store, whose opening was announced April 4, "is a one-stop shop for government employees to research, compare and secure the best prices on commercially available wireless products and services, in addition to those under special contract with GSA," said Sandra Bates, FTS commissioner.

The Wireless Store operates as a partnership with Point.com, a Washington-based online retailer of telecommuni- cations products and services.

The store will cover four categories of wireless products and services: cellular phones and service plans; pagers and paging services; satellite services for voice, data and video; and in-flight services.

The store has content from Point.com's commercial site and has existing FTS cellular contracts with Federal Wireless Telecommunications Service and Nextel. It also contains contract information and links to existing paging and satellite providers.

Cellular and paging schedules will be added when awarded by GSA's Federal Supply Service. The GSA plans to upgrade the site and add content throughout the year.

The Wireless Store is at www.fts. gsa.gov/wireless_store.

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