Qwest Lodges FTS2000 Protest

Qwest Lodges FTS2000 Protest

Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver filed a protest with the General Services Administration, asking it to cancel the contract extensions it granted in December to AT&T Corp. and Sprint Communications Corp. for the FTS2000 contract.

The extensions raise prices and squelch competition, said James Payne, senior vice president for government services for Qwest. The agency did not follow proper procedures in granting the extensions, according to the Qwest protest.

The FTS2000 contract for long-distance services was to expire at the end of 1999 and already had been extended once. This second extension gives agencies using AT&T until Dec. 6, 2001, to transition to the FTS2001 contract. Agencies using Sprint have until June 6 to switch to the newer contract.

Sprint and WorldCom Inc. hold the FTS2001 contract. The contract, however, is not mandatory, and agencies can chose other vendors for their telecommunications services.

There are alternatives to extending the contract, such as allowing agencies to use holders of the Metropolitan Area Acquisition contracts, which includes Qwest and several other companies, Payne said.

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