Task force to study Ga. telecom outsourcing plan

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has formed a special task force to review the state's telecommunications outsourcing project and make recommendations regarding its future.

The Converged Communications Outsourcing Project Task Force will review the state's telecommunications policy and identify a manageable and sustainable approach to outsourcing the state's telecommunications needs for improved customer service by state agencies.

The task force is expected to deliver a written report to Perdue within 60 days, the governor's office said.

"Faced with one remaining bidder, it is important for the state to step back and reassess our needs in information technology," said Perdue in a statement announcing the creation of the task force. "In these tough financial times, we have an obligation to identify and implement the most cost-effective solutions for the people of Georgia."

The task force will also analyze:

  • Cost-effective alternatives for improving the delivery of telecommunications services consistent with the business needs of the state.

  • Cost-effective alternatives for providing distributed computing services.

  • Potential impact on economic development throughout the state.

  • Balancing the costs between urban and rural areas and the disparity of services between metro Atlanta and the rest of Georgia.

  • Enabling state and local government agencies to stay current with telecommunications advances without additional capital outlay.

  • Budget implications, costs and savings.

  • Dr. G. Wayne Clough, president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, will lead the 14-member task force, the governor's office said.

    In November 2002, separate bid teams led by IBM Corp. of Armonk, N.Y., and Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas, submitted bids on the 10-year, $1.8 billion project.

    But on Jan. 3 the IBM-led EnvisionGeorgia team withdrew its bid on the project leaving only the EDS-led ConnectGeorgia team. IBM said in a letter to the Georgia Technology Authority that it was withdrawing because of changing external factors related to the state's political landscape, the economy and the telecom industry.

    The project, which includes the takeover of Georgia's telecom operations and the building of a modern communications network for state government and public schools, was initiated before Perdue took office this month by the previous administration under Gov. Roy Barnes.

    In addition to EDS, the ConnectGeorgia team is composed of AT&T Corp. Bell South Telecommunications Inc., Cingular Wireless, Information Systems Management Inc. and Science Applications International Corp.

    About the Author

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

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