GSA Selects Bell Atlantic for Federal Telecommunications Contract Valued Up to $1.4 Billion

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WASHINGTON -- The General Services Administration (GSA) today awarded Bell Atlantic the aggressively pursued and long-anticipated Washington Interagency Telecommunications System (WITS2001). This single-award contract will provide a broad array of telecommunications services to customers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and is valued at up to $1.4 billion over a term of four years plus four one-year options.

Under the WITS2001 contract, Bell Atlantic Federal will offer federal agencies throughout the NCR a full range of local voice, video and data services, as well as customer premises equipment. Among the new services to be offered are asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), switched multi-megabit data service (SMDS), audio and video teleconferencing, frame relay and high-speed Internet access. In addition, Bell Atlantic will offer a variety of professional services, including network engineering, analysis, design, testing and maintenance.

"The WITS2001 program marks an important milestone in how telecommunications services are provided to the federal government," said Dennis Fischer, commissioner of the Federal Technology Service at the Government Services Administration. "The ability of Bell Atlantic to meet and surpass the contract expectations is the primary reason for this award."

Many of the federal agencies located within the NCR, which includes Washington, D.C. and portions of its Maryland and Virginia suburbs, currently receive their telecommunications services from Bell Atlantic Federal through the existing WITS contract awarded in 1989. Under that contract, Bell Atlantic Federal provides more than 170,000 lines for over one hundred federal agencies, departments and bureaus and has consistently achieved network reliability of 99.5 percent.

"Through the WITS2001 contract, we look forward to continuing the relationships we have built with the GSA and its customers," said Barbara Connor, president of Bell Atlantic Federal. "We have proven our ability to provide technically superior, reliable, cost-effective telecommunications services and this award attests to our continued commitment to provide our federal customers with the same high-quality service."

The award of the contract marks the culmination of extensive efforts by the GSA to provide federal agencies with a flexible and cost effective process for acquiring telecommunications services. In addition to providing enhanced telecommunications services anywhere in the NCR, the WITS2001 contract will make it easy for federal agencies to order telecommunications services. Agencies will be able to get comprehensive information on the products and services available through WITS2001 using Bell Atlantic's WITS2001 web site: Federal agencies will also be able to take advantage of online ordering, as well as the recently introduced combination of Service@onceTM automated telecommunications management system and a consolidated billing system.

"The WITS2001 contract is vastly different from its predecessor," said Jim Glowacki, WITS2001 general manager for Bell Atlantic Federal. "Not only have a multitude of products and services been added to the contract, but Bell Atlantic Federal has developed a Windows*-based system that will streamline how federal agencies fulfill their telecommunications needs. As a result, Bell Atlantic Federal will help federal agencies save substantial time and expense."

Bell Atlantic Federal has alliances with industry-recognized leaders in various specialty areas of the telecommunications industry to provide its federal customers with advanced technical network solutions to support their mission-critical applications. The companies on the Bell Atlantic Federal WITS2001 team are: Advanced Logic Systems, Inc.; Lucent Technologies; PriceWaterhouseCoopers; Robbins Gioia, Inc.; Sigcom and Sprint.

"Bell Atlantic Federal has delivered a competitively-priced contract to the GSA," explained Connor. "Combined with our proven reliability and technologically-advanced solutions, Bell Atlantic Federal will deliver superior telecommunications services to the federal government for years to come."

* Trademark of Microsoft Corp.

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