Johnson: Complexity moves GSA to extend Networx award dates

A huge number of responses from industry, the complexity of the Networx procurement and further program discussions prompted the General Services Administration to extend the award dates for its 10-year, $20 billion telecommunications and networks contract, John Johnson, assistant commissioner for GSA's Office of Service Development and Delivery, said today.

"These contracts are rather complex, and it's created a challenge for some of the industry teams," he said. GSA will require more intensive discussions to ensure that it can award best value contracts, he said.

Johnson said the number of responses received from industry exceeded his expectations, but that he was prohibited by federal acquisition regulations and procurement integrity rules from divulging the number. GSA plans to issue a press release later about the decision to extend the Networx award dates, Johnson said.

The Networx procurement has two parts: a Universal part that will provide government locations with a broad range of telecom services nationwide, and an Enterprise part that will offer a mix of specialized Internet protocol or wireless services in specific geographical areas.

GSA extended the award dates for Networx procurement to March 2007 for the Universal awards and May 2007 for the Enterprise awards.

The previous award dates were July 2006 and September 2006, respectively. GSA has not stated exactly how many awards it plans to issue under Networx.

Networx will replace the Federal Telecommunication System (FTS) 2001 contract for governmentwide telecom services, which expires this year. Last week, GSA said it was negotiating new sole-source contracts with current FTS 2001 incumbents MCI Worldcom Communications Inc. and Sprint Communications LP for continued services for users until the agency awards the replacement Networx contracts.

The new contracts will run to Dec. 17, 2008, for Sprint and to Jan. 10, 2009, for MCI, and carry options for the companies to provide services for three additional six-month periods beyond the new expiration dates.

Johnson also said that GSA will issue information "any time now" about its industry day for the $65 billion Alliant IT full and open and small business contracts. The agency plans to hold the meeting in mid-February. At that time, GSA will announce the release date for Alliant's draft request for proposals, the final RFP dates and the anticipated award dates, Johnson said. The agency issued Alliant's first set of draft request for proposals March 31.

GSA plans to issue 20 awards for the Alliant full and open, and 40 awards for the small business contract in 2006.

Both the Networx and Alliant procurements are being pursued by a wide range of telecommunications companies, systems integrators and other IT firms that operate in the federal government marketplace.

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