RealTime IT News

Qwest Pursues Fed Networking Bonanza

Qwest has assembled a team of IT firms to bid on federal networking contracts worth a total of $40 billion.

Among the companies that the Denver telecom carrier has tapped are: Akamai , a content delivery specialist; Lucent , a network equipment maker; and Science Applications International Corp., a research and engineering outfit.

Another 30 firms, including small businesses, are also part of the Qwest consortium.

The companies hope to get a piece of the General Services Administration's (GSA) Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. Networx universal covers widespread network and communications services, while Network Enterprise focuses on regional services. The deadlines for bidding are Oct. 5 and Oct. 24, respectively.

Qwest is encouraging the GSA -- which handles all the procurement for all federal government agencies -- to award contracts to several bidders. Multiple contractors mean lower prices, better service and more innovation, Qwest said.

"Historically, federal agencies have had few communications choices and lacked the same competitive benefits that commercial customers have enjoyed," Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Of course, Qwest isn't the only carrier gunning for Networx contracts.

AT&T has also announced a group that it's working with to win Networx deals. Ma Bell will team with Gruman IT, EDS, Cingular Wireless and Global Crossing, among others.

And MCI announced that it will use Computer Sciences Corporation, HP and Verizon Wireless to bid on the GSA's Networx contracts.

The GSA will announce its choices for the contract in the summer and fall of 2006.