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

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