Small Step for Information Technology,
Big Step for Procurement
January, the U.S. General Services Administration selected
MCI WorldCom to provide long-distance telephone, data and video
telecommunications services to federal government agencies worldwide
in the second and final round of its multi-billion dollar FTS2001
competition. Sprint was selected in the first round in late December.
But for those
interested in every aspect of electronic government (e-gov, as we
say), that was not the whole story. The fact is, this multi-billion
dollar procurement was conducted from start to finish without paper.
We are talking electronic procurement, from vendors submitting complex
proposals electronically right down to the digitized signatures
that completed the deal.
Vice President Goreís Hammer Award
On March 5,
two federal teams, GSAís FTS2001 team and the Federal Security Infrastructure
(FSI) teamóalong with their industry partners--received Vice President
Award for the FTS2001 electronic bid process.
"Through your partnerships, your have helped prepare us for paperless
transactions and electronic bidding," said GSA Administrator David
J. Barram. "It was a small step for technology, but a really big
step for procurement. You have helped pave the way for our future."
Hammer awardees were:
GSA's FTS2001 Team -- Bruce Barrow, Bruce Brignull, Harold Green,
Colette McKenna, Barbara Norsworthy, Sybille L. Seltmann, and Michael
Toomey; FSI Team -- John Purcell, Treasury; James Degenford, NSA;
and Stanley Choffrey, Angela Chambers, Trudy Hawkins, Terry Hobson,
Phillip Mellinger, and Joseph Sharkey, GSA. Mitretek Systems --
James L. Fisher, Stephen P. Frost, Hsiaosu Hsiung, Monette R. Respress,
and Kenneth D. Stillson; Cygnacom Solutions -- Chad Anderson, Santosh
Chokhani, Matthew Cooper, and Isadore Schoen; Information Security
Corporation -- Dr. Michael J. Markowitz and Thomas J. Venn; Atalla
-- Ching Chen, John Gregory, Larry Hines, and Bill Revels; Fischer
International -- Mike Battaglia, Lee Drennan, Addison Fischer, and
that the savings to the government, for processing the proposals,
were approximately $1.5 million and 52,000 staff hours. This project
is the first to show a secure federal transaction using new-age
approaches while adhering to federal guidelines for identification
Using the Federal Paperless Transactions for the public pilot project,
GSAís Federal Technology Service digitally signed the FTS2001 request
for proposals and posted it on their website along with a dowloadable
application to check signature validity and document integrity.
Subsequently, the same project provided a means for vendors to propose
electronically on the FTS2001 contract by signing the proposal using
digital signature. The contract award was also conducted in a paperless
environment using the same digital signature capability.
Back to What the Paperless Process Bought
and MCI WorldCom will share equally a total minimum revenue guarantee
of $1.5 billion -- $750 million each -- in federal telecommunications
business, and both companies will compete head-to-head for business
over the life of the contract. The estimated value of government
business under FTS2001 is more than $5 billion over the eight-year
negotiations over the past 10 years, telecommunications services
have gone from a national average of 27 cents per minute in 1988
to 5.5 cents per minute under FTS2000. Under FTS2001, prices start
at about 4 cents per minute and drop to less than 1-cent per minute
by the end of the contract.
follow the two successful FTS2000 contracts currently held by AT&T
and Sprint, which began in 1988, and retain some of its key features,
especially the aggressive price competition. During the past ten
years FTS2000 has continually reduced prices saving taxpayers billions
"This has been
an extremely hard fought competition," said GSA Administrator David
J. Barram. "In this final round GSA has gained even further remarkable
savings over those achieved in the first round. We are very pleased
with the overall results of the FTS2001 competition. This is a good
example of how we are using real market competition to help forge
a path to inexpensive electronic government in the next millennium."
that this acquisition completes a key component of the new full-service
GSA. "During the last several years weíve restructured GSA to provide
better products and services to our customers at lower and lower
costs," he said. "We will continue to invest in high technology
to provide the federal workforce with the most economical, state-of-the-art
tools they need to accomplish their mission. We look forward to
even stronger partnerships with American industry as they lead the
way with products and services for our customers -- products that
we will buy using aggressive competition."
I reported that we had achieved the lowest prices anyone has ever
seen for telecommunications services," said Dennis Fischer, Commissioner
of the Federal Technology Service, the organization responsible
for conducting the competition. "We just beat those prices with
this final round of competition and we can now project a price reduction
of more than 65 percent and total savings in excess of $4 billion
over todayís current prices. This is indeed a banner day for the
taxpayer, because their government continues to find ways to be
more accessible to them, to work better for them, and best of all,
to cost less."
highlights of what FTS2001 customers can expect to receive under
the new long-distance contracts:
range of service offerings
- Long distance,
toll-free, and 900 voice services
and intranet based services
- Data communications
services from low-speed to very high-speed interconnections using
latest technologies like Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and
services from low-speed to high-speed circuits
arrangements for mission-critical users (e.g., high-availability
circuits, national security and emergency users)
- Wide range
of support services, including state-of-the art ordering, billing,
network troubleshooting, and repair capabilities
competition between Sprint and MCI WorldCom designed to allow
agencies to act as "smart shoppers" in a commercial-like marketplace
- Price management
mechanism to ensure continued competitive pricing and prevent
a disparity if industry prices drop below governments
customers on par with commercial customers ñ government gets access
to new services at same pace as commercial marketplace
- No up-front
- No government
his enthusiasm for the FTS2001 award, Ron Hack said, "We knew we
did well after the first round, but this second round further strengthens
the telecommunications prospects for Federal telecommunications
users." Hack, who is Telecommunications Director at the Department
of Commerce and chair of the agency advisory group for FTS2000 known
as the Interagency Management Council added, "We have two very robust
competitors vying for our business in a competitive federal market.
The agencies are well served by this outcome. We could not have
hoped for a better result. This is a great success for the agency
customers of FTS2001 and for the American taxpayers."
acquisition ends a five-year process involving many organizations
ñ Congress, oversight organizations, industry, federal customers,
and GSA ñ that have collaborated in various ways. Many discussions
were held with congressional and industry leaders, which prompted
adjustments to the approach to reflect the Telecommunications Act
of 1996 by encouraging end-to-end competition, not just long-distance;
enhanced the competition strategy; raised the revenue guarantees
from $1.0 billion to $1.5 billion; and limited the number of available
awards to two.
As part of
the strategy and as a way of establishing competition for local
services, GSA is also conducting telecommunications acquisitions
in major metropolitan areas across the country. These acquisitions,
known as the Metropolitan Area Acquisitions (MAAs), are scheduled
to begin rolling out in early 1999 and will help GSA realize the
ultimate goal of establishing end-to-end competitive telecommunications
services delivery to its customer agencies.
Barram praised the leadership of Bruce Brignull, Al Olson and the
entire FTS2001 acquisition team for actively pursuing all competitive
possibilities leading to a full competitive services acquisition
that resulted in the lowest rates available in the market.
procurements, GSA has positioned itself to become the provider of
choice for full-service, low-cost, long-distance telecommunications
services to our customers," Barram said. "GSA's efforts will save
these agencies and ultimately the American taxpayer billion of dollars
over what they are spending today and this is in addition to the
savings they have realized over the past decade."
Bearden (202) 501-1231 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Eleni Martin at (202) 501-1231 or email@example.com.
Bill and Eleni are public affairs specialists at the General Services
Administration in Washington, DC.