Massive federal wireless project delayed

The federal government has advised prospective vendors that it has delayed its schedule and changed its requirements for a multibillion-dollar makeover of federal wireless voice and data communications.

In a 25-page amendment to the request for proposals for the Integrated Wireless Network, Justice Department procurement officials extended the due date for proposals and asked vendors to submit two types of cost proposals based on different deployment plans.

Today's changes follow a proposal amendment issued March 2 that extended the potential duration of the project, which has an estimated cost of $10 billion, from five years to up to 15 years.

Today's amendment calls for bidders to present one "funding limited" deployment plan for the nationwide wireless voice and data system, along with an "unrestricted funding" approach to building the system.

Under the limited funding deployment plan, vendors would assume that federal funding would stay level for eight years. The unrestricted funding plan "shall assume there are no limits on the funding profile," according to the procurement documents.

Today's amendment also extends the dates for technical proposals and cost proposals to April 29 and May 6, respectively. Before the March 2 proposal request change, which also extended the dates, vendors had been required to submit their bids by March 18 and March 25 respectively.

Today's proposed request amendment also includes changes in the project's safety and health requirements, among other provisions.

The nationwide wireless infrastructure program is a joint project of the Justice, Homeland Security and State Departments.

Before today's proposal request changes, the IWN program had been on track to issue a contract by May 5. The IWN program Web site http://www.usdoj.gov/jmd/iwn/ no longer displays a project schedule.

Five teams are competing to snare the IWN contract.

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