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GSA Makes Local Telecommunications Services Crossover Award in New York City

GSA # 9812
Contact: Bill Bearden (202) 501-1231
bill.bearden@gsa.gov

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. General Services Administration has made its first award under the crossover competition provisions of its family of major telecommunications services contracts. GSA modified its Metropolitan Area Acquisition (MAA) contract with Verizon for Buffalo, New York, to allow the company to provide MAA telecommunications services in New York City.

"This is the first concrete example of one of the key elements of our strategy for ensuring ongoing competition for the government's telecommunications services business," said Sandra Bates, Commissioner of GSA's Federal Technology Service (FTS). "This strategy was agreed with industry and the Congress in 1997, prior to the start of our acquisition cycle, and we are pleased to say that today it is serving exactly the role we envisioned."

The crossover competition provisions, common to major long distance and local services contracts managed by FTS, allow any holder of a contract within these programs to propose a contract modification to extend service ("crossover") to any other city or program within the FTS family of contracts. Such crossover service can be proposed only after the expiration of a one-year "forbearance" period, measured from award of the original contract in the target city.

If deemed by GSA to be in the government's best interests, the proposed contract modification may then be accepted and the service offered, adding to the competitive choices available to GSA's customers. Contracts containing these provisions include all of those awarded under the FTS2001 long distance services program, the Washington Interagency Telecommunications Services 2001 (WITS2001) local service program, and the MAA local services program, which to date has awarded 37 contracts in 20 cities.

GSA awarded the first MAA contract in New York City to AT&T in May 1999. Services available under this contract include local circuit-switched voice and data services and dedicated transmission services. The modification (signed March 30, 2001) will allow Verizon to offer the same services in direct competition with AT&T across much of the New York City metropolitan area.

"We are firm believers in the value of competition in ensuring the best quality and price for our customers," Bates said, "and these provisions provide a mechanism that can be used to inject additional competition, if needed, after our initial contract awards. Our perception, and the feedback from our customers, indicated that additional choices would be beneficial in our New York City MAA local services program. This award allows us to offer just that."

For more MAA program specific information, please refer to the GSA FTS website at www.gsa.gov/maa, or call the MAA Program Director, Joseph Romanelli at (703) 306-6650.