GSA's Telecommunications Procurement Program Requires Comprehensive Planning and Management

IMTEC-84-10: Published: Jun 11, 1984. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 1984.

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GAO addressed the General Services Administration's (GSA) management and procurement of telecommunications equipment and services under the divestiture of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) and the Federal Communications Commission's Second Computer Inquiry.

Traditionally, GSA has ordered telephone services and equipment from AT&T Presently, under divestiture, GSA must estimate future telecommunications needs, design solicitations, and competitively procure large amounts of telecommunications equipment in a cost-effective manner. GAO found that GSA has not yet adjusted to the new telecommunications environment. Decisions have resulted in actions that lack sound legal bases. Because GSA did not perform cost analysis of lease versus purchase, consider future service options, purchase customer premise equipment (CPE), or arrange for continued maintenance of leased CPE during the years before deregulation actually took place, GSA was forced to engage in questionable last minute procurement practices. Further, GSA has neither given sufficient management attention to the implementation of a multifaceted program nor developed a comprehensive plan to coordinate its actions. GAO found that, as a result, the first of many large procurements is late.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Equipment procured under novation agreements with AT&T for Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania has been competitively acquired. Agencies, which are currently using equipment under novation agreements, should have equipment competitively acquired by early spring, 1986.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should take prompt action to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to competitively procure the equipment that is currently leased under novation agreements with AT&T Information Systems.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA has issued a model RFP which it will use in later procurements. GSA has also developed standard forms for defining requirements and has a contractor on-board to help agencies define requirements.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should take prompt action to identify and define basic requirements to be met in both developing RFP's and awarding contracts for future aggregated switch procurements.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Experiences from the aggregated switch procurement in region I were incorporated in the procedures developed for later procurement requirements.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of General Services should delay the issuance of additional RFP's for aggregated switch procurements until the requirements for them are developed.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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