AT&T Corp, Verizon Business Services, and Qwest Government Services Inc have won the first contracts to be awarded under the US General Services Administration’s 10-year, $20bn network services program.
The three companies will now compete for orders as part of the GSA’s Networx Universal scheme, which aims to upgrade the current federal telecoms network to a global IP and MPLS-based system. Work will span 135 federal agencies across 191 countries. The second part of the project, Networx Enterprise, is expected to be awarded in May.
There was widespread surprise that Sprint Nextel Corp, which has provided telecoms services to US government agencies for nearly 20 years, was not named as one of the three prime contractors. The company had been one of only four bidders for the deal, alongside the eventual winners, and said it was disappointed not to be involved with the project.
Sprint said it would request a meeting with the GSA next week, but it was undecided as to whether or not it would protest the decision. Sprint was heavily involved with the GSA’s old FTS2001 project, awarded in 1998, which provided long-distance phone services to the federal government. The Networx program is intended to replace FTS2001.