Two more big agencies issue EIS task orders

The Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service both signed off on EIS contracts last month.

communications (windwheel/

At the end of September, two big federal agencies signed services task orders with a combined ceiling value of just over $1 billion under the General Services Administration's next-generation telecommunications contract.

The Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service issued orders for data and telecommunications services under the GSA vehicle just days before GSA's deadline for awards under its 15-year, $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Services contract.

The SSA issued two task orders on Sept. 27 -- one to Verizon Business Network Services and another to CenturyLink for data network services. SSA's Verizon task order has a ceiling of just over $544 million.

The SSA's CenturyLink task order, issued the same day, has a ceiling of $470.3 million.

The IRS order with Verizon dated Sept. 26, has a ceiling of $341 million. The contract is to continue the agency's enterprise network of toll free services.

All three task orders are set to expire in 2032.

The GSA had set Sept. 30 as a deadline for agencies to issue their EIS task orders. The date was one of three that GSA reset late in 2018 after extending is original 2020 deadline for agency transition to EIS to 2023. The reset came after federal agencies were slow to issue initial solicitations for the contract.

In August, the agency eased off the Sept. 30 deadline's significance. Allen Hill, director of the Office of Telecommunications Services in GSA's Federal Acquisition Services, said at an ACT-IAC event that missing the deadline was a "yellow light" for agencies and a sign that those agencies need to "step it up" in their EIS transition work.

Jim Williams, a partner at Schambach & Williams Consulting and a former Federal Acquisition Service commissioner, told FCW the two big task order awards are an encouraging sign for EIS transition, but aren't the "flood" many vendors had hoped for.

Several large agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security have yet to award task orders under EIS.

When Hill made his remarks in August, he noted three task orders had been awarded. NASA signed an $11 million EIS contract with CenturyLink in April, while the Department of Justice signed a contract with AT&T in June for almost $1 billion. The Railroad Retirement Board also contracted with AT&T -- a 13-year agreement worth up to $10 million -- a few weeks before DOJ.