Ross Wilkers

TELECOM

CenturyLink fully cleared to proceed on EIS telecom vehicle

CenturyLink has become the first carrier on the General Services Administration’s next-generation “EIS” telecommunications contract vehicle to receive an authority-to-operate designation that lets the company more fully proceed.

Now the work begins on working with agencies to transition to the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract from the current Networx vehicle, as CenturyLink’s lead government executive David Young put it to me in an interview Thursday afternoon.

That means pursuing the deluge of task orders stemming from the potential 15-year, $50 billion EIS vehicle with nine carriers including CenturyLink. Those orders started to get released during the middle of last year and should add up to 147 overall, our sister publication FCW reported in December when GSA extended Networx to 2023.

GSA expects agencies to issue their EIS solicitations to industry by March 31.

“We’ve probably seen or actively working or submitted close to 20 fair opportunities that were received by all of the contract holders,” Young told me. “What’s next is agencies that have received the responses to their fair opportunities can begin to make awards as their chosen vendors receive their ATOs.”

What agencies have put opportunities out on the street so far? The Social Security Administration and Justice Department have both run “multiple fair opportunities” as has NASA, Young said. DOJ’s releases have been for the FBI and Bureau of Prisons.

Other “active bids right now” as Young described include GSA itself and the Navy, plus the Treasury and Interior departments.

But even if an agency has not released an EIS opportunity, CenturyLink is still preparing for them when they do hit the street. Take DHS as an example of one that has not issued a solicitation yet but will do so in the future.

“We’ve still stood up a capture team and we have a group of people from architects and engineers, program managers, proposal folks all formed around these big fair opportunities that we’re watching,” Young said.

That starts with a peek at the request for information to get a glimpse of how an agency is looking to migrate to EIS.

“We’re beginning the process to, if they’ve issued an RFI, begin to put that solution down for what it looks like in the RFI phase so we’re a little further down the road for when the (request for proposals) comes out.”

According to a GSA EIS status report posted March 6, two other carriers are 93-percent through the process of back-office system testing in Verizon and AT&T.

Receipt of an ATO comes after those test results are reviewed and accepted. Next is MetTel at 68.5 percent, while four others are 62-percent complete through the process to evaluate security of back-office systems.

“I expect the ATO process to probably go out a couple of months from this point as the other vendors finalize and get approval from GSA on what their security plans are and how they’re going to operate,” Young said.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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