Two DREN protesters drop their complaints

Two of the three companies that protested the award of a 10-year, $450 million high-speed networking contract to WorldCom Inc. have withdrawn complaints they made to the General Accounting Office.

Sprint Communications Corp. of Westwood, Kan., and AT&T Corp. of New York withdrew their protests May 28. They had objected to the decision April 4 by the Defense Information Systems Agency to award the Defense Research and Engineering Network contract to WorldCom, Clinton, Miss., citing inconsistencies in the evaluation criteria DISA used to award the contract.

"We did the protest, we got the documents we requested from the government, we did an extensive analysis, and we found a lot of the irregularities we were concerned about," said Sprint spokesman John Polivka. He declined to describe the irregularities.

But the company concluded that continuing the protest was unlikely to change the result, Polivka said, leading Sprint to withdraw the complaint.

AT&T did not return telephone calls requesting information.

A third protest, filed by Global Crossing Ltd. of Bermuda, remains. Gordon said the GAO decision on that complaint is due by July 22.

Depending on the GAO's action on the Global Crossing protest, DISA could finally put the controversial DREN contract process behind it. The agency awarded the contract to Global Crossing last July, but quickly withdrew it when AT&T, Sprint, WorldCom and Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver all appealed the selection.

DISA was set to award the contract a second time in January, again to Global Crossing, but had to hold off when the company announced it was filing for bankruptcy.

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