By Emily Long – 03/08/10 NextGov.com
The General Services Administration launched a $10 billion telecommunications contract to complement its massive Networx program.
Connections II, scheduled for completion late this year, is a 10-year contract that provides labor and equipment for agencies’ telecommunications infrastructure, building and campus needs, according to a draft request for proposals released on March 4.
“The Connections II acquisition can complement Networx by providing engineering, integration and applications support functions for agencies and can assist agencies in enabling and acquiring the services available on the Networx contracts, thus providing a one-stop solution for government agencies that need that level of support,” said Karl Krumbholz, director of GSA’s Office of Network Services Programs.
Networx offers recurring infrastructure and transport services but does not provide labor or equipment outside of network or telecommunications service delivery.
Krumbholz said Connections II will be particularly useful to agencies that need expertise in moving to new technologies. “The contract will also assist agencies with expertise on large-scale network services transitions and will provide support for installing the infrastructure required for delivery of the recurring transport services,” he said.
But observers questioned whether a separate contract is necessary to provide the services Connections II offers. “In many ways it does duplicate what Alliant is doing,” said Ray Bjorklund, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer. “Any IT contract can do [LAN networking]. . . . There are existing contracting vehicles to do that.”
According to GSA, Alliant’s spectrum is much broader than that of Connections II. Its predecessor, Connections, expires in 2011.
Connections II likely won’t have a strong impact on Networx, Bjorklund said, although it could help accelerate or synchronize the contract’s usage.
The RFP closes on March 29.
© 2010 BY NATIONAL JOURNAL GROUP, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED