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GSA's Massive Telecom Contract Could Come Soon

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The company with the last bid protest on General Services Administration’s long-delayed $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solution contract folded its cards.

Arkansas-based Windstream on May 24 withdrew the protest it initially filed in April.

When GSA first bid out the telecommunications infrastructure contract in October 2015, officials expected awards to come by late 2016, but a series of pre- and post-award protests slowed the evaluation process.

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Amid protests and an active solicitation process, GSA officials pushed back EIS’ expected award to late spring until Windstream protested after it was eliminated from the contract’s competitive range. With all protests withdrawn or dismissed by the Government Accountability Office, GSA can again evaluate bids.

Rumors of awards coming as soon as this month abound in the contracting community, but GSA officials did not comment to Nextgov regarding an award date.

As massive as EIS is, it’s only the second largest contract GSA expects to award this year. Alliant 2, which could bring the government as much as $65 billion in IT services over the next 10 years, has faced its share of scrutiny as well.

The contract, which went out for bid last June, received eight protests, according to data from GAO. Two were withdrawn by protesting companies and six were dismissed by GAO—each in favor of the government. In January, when the protests were resolved, Federal Acquisition Services Deputy Commissioner Kevin Youel Page credited the agency’s “outside the box” approach in devising Alliant 2 for seemingly being bullet proof to protests.

“How we’ve been working through Alliant 2, [GAO’s decision] really is a foot-stomp on the idea that GSA, in particular, is tremendously focused on value,” Youel Page said. “What we are trying to do is awarding to the highest-rated technical officers with a fair and reasonable price.”

Alliant 2 mixes an objective methodology, asking vendors to score themselves in points-based fashion, with a GSA-determined baseline for fair and reasonable pricing. Pricing remains important, but this methodology emphasizes capabilities and past performance. The methodology is an evolution of the approach used in the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services, better known as OASIS, which withstood an onslaught of protests without a judgment against it.

GSA officials could make Alliant 2 awards before the yearend.

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