GSA delays Networx draft RFP until December

The General Services Administration has delayed until December the release of a draft request for proposals for the $10 billion Networx telecommunications and network services contract because of the revised program strategy's complexity, John Johnson, assistant commissioner for service delivery at the agency's Federal Technology Service, told Washington Technology today.

Johnson also said GSA will hold an industry conference day Aug. 11 to reveal the revised strategy for Networx, which will replace the government's current FTS 2001 contract for telecom services.

Networx, a governmentwide, multiple-award contract, is the follow-on to FTS 2001, which expires in 2006. It has a term of 10 years and is expected to include a wide range of services from circuit-switched networks and Internet services to remote access and satellite services. The draft RFP for Networx was to be issued this September.

Johnson gave few details about the revised strategy, but said that that the issue of ubiquity versus continuity has been resolved in that vendors will provide services only where they are required, not everywhere across the country. He also said that under the revised strategy, billing requirements have been reduced by nearly 60 percent.

Johnson declined to give details regarding the contract's two-prong acquisition approach ? one for large telecoms that have national infrastructure and the other for systems integrators and smaller companies that could not provide all Networx services to users nationwide ? but said that the issue has been "resolved adequately."

Likewise, Johnson declined to give details about the program's multiple-award contract structure, but did say that the megacontract will offer 55 core services.

GSA and the Industry Advisory Council ? an arm of the American Council for Technology, an organization for IT executives and government leaders ? will reveal the revised Networx strategy at the conference Aug. 11, Johnson said. The location has yet to be decided. GSA will publish the meeting's agenda next week.

The morning session of the conference will consists of all-government presentations, while industry and government panel discussions will be held in the afternoon, Johnson said.

GSA Federal Technology Service Commissioner Sandra Bates will give the opening remarks, and Johnson will discuss the general strategy for Networx as well as the program's goals, objectives and vision.

GSA's Networx program manager and deputy program manager will discuss its strategy in more detail, Johnson said, along with specific issues such as ubiquity and security.

Unveiling the revised Networx strategy will come a few days before GSA holds its FTS Network Services Conference Aug.16-19 in Nashville, Tenn. Johnson said the Aug. 11 strategy announcement was deliberately scheduled so that the contract's strategy could be discussed during tracking sessions on transition at the Nashville conference.

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