WASHINGTON - On February 26, Verizon testified before the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight regarding the U.S. General Services Administration's proposed Networx acquisition strategy. Networx, the federal government's fourth-generation procurement intended to provide the full-range of wireline and wireless communications and network services, will replace the expiring FTS2001 long-distance communications contracts, as well as the Federal Wireless Telecommunications Contract (FWTS), the Satellite Services Contracts and certain services provided via the FTS Regional Services program. Over the past few months, the GSA has thoughtfully considered recommendations made by Verizon and other industry participants and revised the proposed Networx acquisition strategy. However, in Verizon's opinion further revision is warranted to ensure robust competition and the long-term viability of the contract.
The following statement, condensed from remarks made during formal testimony this morning before the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, should be attributed to Shelley Murphy, head of federal sales for Verizon Enterprise Solutions Group.
"The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), considering input from industry and other key stakeholders, has revised the Networx acquisition strategy in a way that goes a long way toward strengthening the procurement vehicle in terms of increasing competition and ensuring the contract's long-term viability in a quickly changing communications industry.
"However, Verizon strongly encourages the GSA to consider additional modifications to the Networx requirements. These modifications will support even more industry participation, create an extremely robust contract and provide an effective framework for ongoing competition. The demanding budgetary environment faced by federal agencies requires the delivery of innovative, price-effective communications products and services. The four Verizon proposals noted below will strengthen the Networx strategy and complement the significant progress made to date."
Verizon recommends the following:
- Limit the requirement for high-speed data services. Carriers should only be required to provide these services to the 300 government locations currently using these services, as well as to the remaining 100 largest MSAs and locations where bidders currently offer these services.
- Lower the number of required MSAs for wireless services. Wireless providers should only be required to provide service in 95 percent of the top 100 most populated markets. Focus should be placed on the ability to provision quality network coverage and advanced voice and data services.
- Provide a clearly articulated mechanism to foster "cross-contract" competition. In order to maintain ongoing competition in a rapidly changing communications industry, companies must be allowed to "graduate" from the Enterprise contract to the Universal contract as individual companies' capabilities evolve.
- Define processes and criteria to retire out-dated technologies and introduce new services. The ability to rapidly modify the contract to offer new technologies as they become commercially available is critical to the viability and longevity of Networx. Flexibility for pricing and product life-cycle management, as well as the retirement of obsolescent technologies, is also necessary.
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