Networx contractors move into new era

With the award yesterday of five Networx Enterprise contracts, the General Services Administration has moved federal telecommunications into a new era. Now agencies and contractors will begin moving their services from expiring contracts to the new vehicles.

But much work remains to be done. The companies are testing their back-end systems to ensure they meet GSA's specifications, and agencies are planning their strategies for change.

Networx Universal, which GSA awarded in March, includes a long list of mandatory services and requires contractors to be able to provide them around the world. Enterprise, with only nine mandatory services and without the geographic range, is intended for more localized offerings.

AT&T Corp; Qwest Communications International Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. earned places on both contracts. Sprint Solutions Inc. and Level 3 Communications LLC won spots only on Enterprise.

Because agencies have to choose whether to use Enterprise or Universal for each specific task, Sprint and Level 3 are at a disadvantage because they are not on Universal, said Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting.

"Agencies are going to be balancing pricing and the range of services and range of locations" that each contract offers, he said. "My bet at this point is that most agencies are going to favor the Universal vehicle."

They may, however, choose Enterprise for localized requirements, if they can get the services they need at lower prices.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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