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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

EIS protest delay may be minimal

A lot of the market is anxious for the General Services Administration to award the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract so a pre-award protest has raised concerns that the award may be delayed.

GSA had been saying an award would come before the end of spring on June 20. But the protest by Windstream Communications was filed April 17 and GAO’s decision isn’t expected before July 26. While a protest is pending, GSA is prohibited from making an award.

But a lot can happen between now and then.

Sources have told me that Windstream is protesting because the company was eliminated from the competitive range. The company wants back in the competition.

GSA has not yet responded to the protest and still has two weeks to file its answer with GAO. Windstream’s attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment.

It is important to note that GSA can continue to evaluate the other bidders, including possible discussions. They can go right up to the edge of making an award. So GSA will likely be ready to make an award within days of a GAO decision – if the decision goes in GSA’s favor.

Windsteam is based in Little Rock, Ark. and provides services such a network and data services, cloud connections, managed network security, colocation and unified communications. It holds the GSA schedule and is a teammate on several large IDIQ contracts such as Networx (which EIS will replace), Alliant, NIH-CIO SP3 and GSA Connections II. Some of its government customers include Army National Guard, Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Logistics Agency, the Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security departments.

The company also has been building its capabilities through acquisitions: it bought EarthLink in a $1.1 billion deal in November and purchased Broadview Networks in April for $227.5 million.

EIS is the long awaited replacement for the current GSA Networx contract held by AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, and Level 3. They compete for task orders to provide a wide range of telecommunications services to federal agencies.

All of those companies are in the running for EIS. GSA has indicated that it will likely make more awards this time around. The contract has also attracted attention from non-telecom companies such as Harris Corp.

So there is a chance that this contract can get back on track to a spring or early summer award but then again there is still the risks of further delays from protests that can come after awards are made. Those post-award protests are the ones that can cause significant delays, especially if GAO finds some sort of problem or if GSA decides to take a corrective action.

Long story short, don’t be too worried about delays right now. There will be plenty of time for delays later.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 04, 2017 at 9:36 AM

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