Search Skyward For Solutions

GSA's Satellite Services-II (SATCOM-II) program provides an expanded range of end-to-end satellite solutions for government agencies.

Just imagine you are working in a remote location where no wire line or wireless infrastructure exists and you need reliable communications.

 

Imagine you are a Warfighter on foreign soil who needs communications and logistics support.

 

Or you are a First Responder rushing to a domestic emergency and you need untethered capabilities for communications.

 

Or you are an agency executive who is charged with making sure there are diverse methods in your COOP to preserve and enable critical communications.

 

Each of you is a prime candidate for satellite communications capabilities. And GSA’s popular SATCOM-II contract is your way to get these life-saving capabilities now.

 

The Satellite Alternative
According to GSA, SATCOM-II contracts are multiple award IDIQ Fixed Price contracts. They are not GSA Schedules, GWACs, or MACs. SATCOM-II allows you to place task orders directly with SATCOM-II contractors using Direct Order/Direct Bill.

 

You can also use GSA's e-Buy to post Request For Quotes (RFQ's) and request For Proposals (RFP's). All the nuts and bolts are contained in the SATCOM-II Customer User Guide available at www.gsa.gov/satcom.

 

SATCOM-II provides solutions for GSA’s customers with critical national missions or need alternative sources for bandwidth for their COOP and disaster recovery planning. The contract provides not only today’s satellite communications technologies, but is designed to keep pace with the growth in satellite technologies expected during the next five years. Of the 25 firms awarded SATCOM-II contracts, 16 are large businesses and 9 are small businesses.

 

Poised For Growth
Jim Russo is the SATCOM-II program manager. In a recent interview with 1105 Custom Media he spoke about some of the some of the unique requirements agencies have and why somebody would turn to having satellite communications versus basic wire line and the cell service that you see now.


SATCOM-II Contacts


GSA’s Web Portal
http://www.gsa.gov/satcom

 

SATCOM-II Program Office
    Jim Russo 703-306-6631, jim.russo@gsa.gov
    Annette Cole 703-306-7670, annette.cole@gsa.gov
    Anita Keeler 703-306-6306, anita.keeler@gsa.gov

 

SATCOM-II Contracts Office
    Peggy Van Tassel 703-306-6469, peggy.vantassel@gsa.gov
    Patti Stang 703-306-6404, patricia.stang@gsa.gov

Source: GSA April 2008


Russo is confident satellite communications are going to continue to grow as savvy buyers see its benefits.

 

“Look at the diversity of the government,” said Russo. “From the DOD perspective, it’s well documented that the DOD depends on commercial SATCOM to provide bandwidth and capacity to work both the military actions in defense.”

 

“Satellite communications really are a cost effective way to extend communications to a geographically diverse set of users and places where it’s simply not cost effective to put in either a wire line or a terrestrial wireless solution,” explained Russo.

 

“There are broad swaths of the country where there’s no business case that anybody can make to build a tower every so many miles to cover vast stretches where the population density isn’t enough to support it,” Russo added. “So satellite buyers are looking at solutions that will cover the needs of
the government’s requirements.”

 

A Busy Year
SATCOM-II is in its second year and previous SATCOM contracts have been transitioned to SATCOM-II .

 

“We have already got more than 130 task orders and there are already 39 agencies using products and services that they’ve acquired through
SATCOM –II,” said Russo. “In January 2008 we went live on our GSA e-Buy system and we use that for customers to easily find our contractors.”

 

Russo explained that buyers post their requirements or statements of work (SOW) or however they choose to write their statement of requirements on e-Buy.  They can go to a section of e-Buy specifically for SATCOM-II that allows them to manage the competition.

 

“So for customers, it will send the requirements, the requests for quotes out to all 25 of our contractors and then it will serve as a coordination point for the customers to see who has responded, who has declined, and they give the contractors a response date,” explained Russo.

 

“Everybody is given the opportunity to see the requirements and bid against them and the customers ultimately get the best deal. That’s actually a pretty big deal because we are the first telecommunications program within GSA to be on e-Buy. And we are looking to add some of our new wireless telecommunications expenses management contracts to e-Buy as well.”

 

“We are constantly updating and upgrading our service offerings. So the contractors are fully engaged in this,” said Russo.

 

“e-Buy is bringing customers to the table that are looking for services. That spawns competition for products and services which keeps the contractors engaged because they see a stream of users and needs. It gives them ideas on how to market the program because they see what the users are asking for.”

Telecommunications Expense Management Services 

SATCOM works closely with other GSA programs including Networx and GSA Schedules. One of the latest initiatives is Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative contracts covering Telecommunications Expense Management Services.

Awarded in spring 2008, the purpose of these contracts is to provide a way for agencies to contract with an integrator that would provide a diagnostic that would help the agency do a myriad of services Russo said.

“It would determine what their wireless inventory would be, their wireless requirements, perhaps their policies and help with the policies if the agencies so chose,” Russo added.

“Then to take those requirements and bounce them against the providers’ offerings in coverage areas, to tell the agencies what the best carriers would be in certain situations and to be able to mix and match carrier offerings, because as you travel across the country in certain areas one provider may have better coverage than others and go through the whole life cycle and help with billing, provisioning and technology, refreshment”

According to Russo, the whole purpose is to provide third party engineering assistance to agencies, help them navigate the waters of all the multiple choices they have in terms of wireless and pricing plans and break points and when you should go with a data plan versus a voice and data plan or bucket plans.

“There’s just so much to consider and the way that the agencies are also distributed; that plays a big part in it too.”

GSA has awarded contracts to three providers – Avalon, Isis LLC and Booz, Allen, Hamilton.

“They are basically open for business. We are spreading the word on this new offering to as many places as we can and making that option known to the agencies as another way that they can access the services,” Russo said.

“Now buyers would actually be able to purchase the services from the carriers, through these integrators and touch say Networx to provide the wireless and touch SATCOM-II to provide the satellite services, or touch the GSA Schedules perhaps to do the wireless cellular services, “ Russo went on to say.

“So it really doesn’t limit where the services can come from; it’s really just an aid in helping the agencies make a smart decision and manage their assets.”

“We have a whole set of tools on the website. Customer guides, the contracts are posted, the prices are posted and some tutorials are posted,” said Russo. And while it’s not part of SATCOM-II, it is another way for users to reach SATCOM-II .”

Buyers looking for this service should go to www.gsa.gov/fssitem