Davis Sets Hearing on MAA Contracts, Calls for GAO Study

The General Services Administration's contracts to provide local telecommunications services to federal agencies about to come under congressional scrutiny.

Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on technology and procurement policy, announced April 5 a hearing will be held June 13 concerning delays in implementing the Metropolitan Area Acquisition program. Davis also said he will ask the General Accounting Office to investigate the issue.

"I am deeply concerned that the federal government has been inexcusably slow in creating service orders to transition business to MAA contract award winners," Davis said. "I am committed to seeing the transition of this business occur rapidly."

The MAA program was created soon after the 1996 Telecommunications Act to expand on the benefits of competition and cost savings that the long-distance industry saw after the 1984 breakup of AT&T.

Competitive carriers have won approximately half of the 20 MAA contracts awarded to date. The projected value of those contracts is about $4.1 billion, and the GSA has projected the 20 contracts could save the taxpayer more than $1 billion compared to current costs, Davis said.

Despite the contract awards, many local offices of federal agencies have not made any move to transition from their local provider to MAA providers, a Davis spokesman said.

"These huge cost savings are not being realized, at least in part, because of the GSA's inaction in implementing and acting on the MAA contracts that have been awarded," Davis said.

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