[Protest of Two Specifications in NASA RFTP for Telephone Systems]

B-220512.2: Mar 7, 1986

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A firm protested two specifications in a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) solicitation for a telephone system, contending that: (1) the selection of the type of contract must be made in a competition; (2) the evaluation was based on existing tariffs and did not consider that it could offer better pricing arrangements in response to a competitive solicitation; and (3) the requirement for digitization in the telephone precluded alternative technical solutions. NASA contended that: (1) its study showed that lease-to-ownership was the least costly alternative available; and (2) it obtained a delegation of procurement authority (DPA) that approved the acquisition on this basis. GAO found that: (1) the protester conceded that it could address the NASA requirement for voice digitization and showed no evidence that the requirement impaired its ability to compete; (2) the NASA lease-to-ownership requirement was improper since the Federal Information Resources Management Regulation (FIRMR) provides that a comparative cost analysis of the alternative methods actually proposed in competition shall be performed to determine which method provides the government with the lowest overall cost over the total system life; and (3) the record did not support the NASA suggestion that the DPA did not specifically require it to comply with the FIRMR. Accordingly, the protest was sustained in part and denied in part, GAO advised NASA to cancel the procurement and reissue the solicitation allowing, the submission of offers on alternate bases.