Winstar Loses Telecom Contract Protest

WASHINGTON (05/23/2000) - The General Accounting Office has rejected Winstar Communications Inc.'s protest of a federal telecommunications contract awarded to Bell Atlantic Federal in January.

Officials are offering no details on GAO's decision, which temporarily is under a protective order, according to Glenn Wolcott, a GAO attorney who handled the case. GAO will post an edited version of its decision - eliminating proprietary company information - on its Web site within the next two weeks, Wolcott said.

On Jan. 27, the General Services Administration awarded to Bell Atlantic Federal the Washington Interagency Telecommunications System 2001 contract, which has been valued at $1.4 billion over the life of the deal.

Winstar, which also competed for the contract, protested Bell Atlantic Federal's selection, citing concerns over GSA's price analysis and its discussions with Winstar during the procurement process. It also argued there were problems with existing Bell Atlantic Federal tariffs.

Bell Atlantic Federal was the incumbent service provider when it won the 2001 contract.

A Winstar spokesman said company officials were not available to comment on the GAO decision. At GSA, spokesman Bill Beardon said the agency is pleased with the decision.

Kevin Irland, a spokesman for Bell Atlantic Federal, said the company would have no comment on the decision.

Under WITS 2001, Bell Atlantic Federal is to provide telecommunications services to federal customers in the National Capital Region. The contract runs for four years with four one-year options.

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