EDS, IBM square off for Ga. telecom contract

With financially troubled WorldCom Inc. forced to withdraw from the competition for Georgia's 10-year, $1.8 billion telecommunications outsourcing project, IBM Corp. has stepped forward to compete against Electronic Data Systems Corp. for the groundbreaking contract.

The Georgia Technology Authority announced Nov. 15 that it had received bids for the Convergent Communications Outsourcing Project from two teams: "EnvisionGeorgia," led by IBM of Armonk, N.Y., and "ConnectGeorgia," led by EDS. of Plano, Texas.

The team structures:

  • EnvisionGeorgia: IBM (prime contractor), Sprint Inc., Resource Network International and Enterasys Networks Inc. (key subcontractors).

  • GeorgiaConnect: AT&T Corp., BellSouth Telecommunications Inc. and EDS (bid team), Cingular Wireless, Cisco Systems Inc., Information Management Systems Inc. and Science Applications International Corp. (key subcontractors).

  • Georgia previously suspended the bidding July 12 because of the financial instability of WorldCom of Clinton, Miss. At that time, WorldCom was competing against EDS.

    In the earlier competition, IBM was a participant on the "GeorgiaAdvantage" team led by WorldCom.

    As a result of its previous experience, the Georgia Technology Authority will now make a stringent assessment of bidders' financial condition and general business prospects throughout the evaluation and negotiation process.

    Under the proposed outsourcing contract, the winning industry team will provide the state with a variety of services, including local, long-distance and wireless phone services; high speed online access; local area networks; and personal computing equipment and support for state and local government agencies, including schools, libraries and city and county offices.

    The bids contain technical proposals without pricing information, the authority said. Clarifications and refinements to the proposals will be negotiated during December 2002 and January 2003. The teams will submit final proposals with pricing by February 2003.

    Representatives from state, county and city governments in Georgia will participate in the final evaluation.

    The Georgia Technology Authority expects to sign a contract with the successful team in April 2003. The team will assume telecom operations in July 2003.

    About the Author

    William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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