As you may have read in Commissioner Alan Thomas’s December 2018 blog post, GSA has decided to extend the current telecommunications contracts (Networx, WITS, and local service agreements (LSAs) for no more than three additional years to allow agencies more time to transition to our newest telecommunications contract: Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS).
Awarded in July 2017, the EIS contract is a revolutionary information technology (IT) contract that will improve how the federal government modernizes legacy IT and telecommunications infrastructure.
The $50 billion, 15-year, Best-in-Class acquisition vehicle is a one-stop shop for infrastructure modernization. It replaces the legacy contracts.
Originally set to expire on or before May 2020, GSA will extend the current telecommunications contracts until May 2023.
Now, agencies have four years to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity to modernize IT infrastructure governmentwide and transition to EIS.
Agencies need to release their solicitations to industry and make timely task order awards so they can make the transition within the four- year window to modernize their IT infrastructure.
To highlight several crucial dates that agencies must know in order to complete this transition successfully, GSA put together this EIS Transition Roadmap.
While it’s not an exhaustive list, agencies can measure and get a good sense of their progress against these four critical dates:
- September 30, 2019: Deadline for awarding EIS task orders.
- March 31, 2020: GSA will limit use of the extended contracts for agencies who have not made task order awards.
- March 31, 2022: 90% of agencies’ telecom inventory must be off current contracts and moved to EIS.
- May 31, 2023: Current Networx, WITS, and LSA telecom contracts expire.
Agencies must meet these critical milestones to successfully transition within the four-year window.
We Can Help
If your agency struggles to meet the roadmap dates, reach out to us immediately for individual support about how to make better progress.
To be clear, GSA intends to extend expiring telecommunications contracts so agencies have enough time to complete transition and modernize, not to extend the time for the solicitation and task order award process.
What You Have to Do
Agencies need to keep their foot on the gas to ensure they have time to transition their telecom services from their existing contracts and providers to EIS.
For example, agencies should issue their solicitations to industry by March 31, 2019. If you don’t issue your solicitations to industry by this date, GSA may cease providing one of our transition support tools for solicitation development - the Transition Ordering Assistance program.
Some stakeholders had questions about the recent federal shutdown’s impact on the new EIS milestones. After the 35-day lapse in funding for some federal agencies, GSA and OMB assessed whether the milestone dates should be adjusted. Since most federal agencies were not affected by the shutdown, the milestone dates will not be changed. However, we’ll work on a case-by-case basis with agencies that were affected by the shutdown.
Remember IT Modernization Principles
As agencies put together their transition plans and solicitations, IT modernization principles must remain at the forefront.
Never before have we seen this much focus, collaboration, and support for modernizing our federal IT infrastructure to ensure agencies can use new and emerging technologies. It is critical to modernize now, otherwise it could hinder the government’s future ability to perform mission critical functions and delaying would also be more costly to taxpayers.
For the few agencies that have released solicitations, we estimate that the first EIS suppliers will start receiving their Authority to Operate (ATO) in early FY19 Q3, and agencies can begin making awards. In fact, CenturyLink was the first EIS supplier to receive an ATO on Monday, March 11, 2019.
We are working closely with our supplier partners to ensure they do what is necessary to receive their ATO as quickly as possible.
We stand ready to help agencies with all their EIS transition challenges. We’re confident that the three-year extension removes a barrier to successful completion of transition and allows for greater focus on modernization in all EIS task orders.
For assistance with transition planning, please contact your GSA agency manager.