First Small Business Gets Cleared to Accept Task Orders on GSA’s $50B Telecom Contract

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The first of three small businesses on the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract got its authority to operate, giving agencies an option outside the big telecom offerors.

Federal agencies now have a small business option for their infrastructure services on the government’s central next-generation telecommunications contract vehicle.

As the General Services Administration built the massive Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, or EIS, telecom contract, the agency wanted to make sure the governmentwide vehicle accomplished two major objectives: help customer agencies modernize their infrastructure with new technology and ensure small businesses got a piece of the $50 billion valuation.

The agency met the second goal by including three small businesses among the nine vendors to win spots on EIS: Core Technologies, Manhattan Telecommunications and MicroTech. However, as of Sept. 30—GSA’s soft deadline for agencies to issue task orders on EIS—none of the small businesses had acquired an authority to operate, or ATO, which certifies the company can provide a base level of cybersecurity.

Most agencies were not able to meet the Sept. 30 deadline, and for those that did not, they now have an ATO certified small business option.

MicroTech, a certified service-disabled veteran-owned small business, obtained its ATO Oct. 24, becoming the first small business to meet that milestone under EIS, according to GSA. The three-year certification means federal agencies can now start issuing task orders to MicroTech as they begin transitioning away from expiring telecom contracts like Networx and WITS-3.

The other two small businesses, CoreTech and MetTel, were 92.3% of the way through the process as of the last security report, issued by GSA Oct. 9. Large business Granite Telecommunications’ ATO was also at 92.3% as of the last security report.

MicroTech was not far ahead of the others as of Oct. 9, reporting a slight lead with 93.2% completed at that time.

The remaining five telecom providers—AT&T, BT Federal, CenturyLink, Harris and Verizon—were all granted ATOs on or before Sept. 25.