State hopes to name new telecommunications provider this month

PHOTO/James MacPherson/AJOC
State officials said they hope to announce in mid-November the vendor for a $26 million annual contract to provide state government telecommunications.

Earlier this fall, Administration Department Commissioner Jim Duncan had expected the contract award would be announced by Nov. 1.

He said in early November the state is finalizing the process and would make the announcement later in the month.

"We are concluding negotiations with the top-ranked vendor based on their response to the RFP (request for proposals) and hope to give public notice of intent to award by Nov. 13," he said.

When state officials declare a contract award winner, documents and other bidders once proprietary during the process will be made public, he told the Journal earlier this year.

Also, after the vendor is announced the state kicks off a 10-day period during which protests can be filed, he said.

When state officials issued the bid for the telecommunications contract in August 2000 they estimated that 42 state employees would be laid off as a result of the new contract. However, many of them might be hired by the winner of the contract, officials said.

The state received three proposals for the new contract which went out for bid last August, Duncan told the Journal earlier this year. He was unable to list names of vendors because the procurement process was ongoing.

Start-up dates for providing service are part of negotiations, but Duncan hopes to implement the services as soon as possible after the award date.

In December, representatives from major Alaska telecommunications players AT&T Alascom, Alaska Communications Systems and General Communication Inc. told the Journal they submitted bids.

Originally, state officials had planned to award the contract in mid-March. However, once they started evaluating the proposals, officials determined the process would take longer than expected because the proposals were more complex than anticipated, Duncan said.

The new contract aims to streamline state telecommunications services.

The request for proposal calls for a vendor, including possibly a consortium of companies, to run the state’s telecommunications networks for four years, with two optional one-year renewal periods.

The contract covers providing service for wired telephones, data networks, video, paging, cellular, satellite transport, tech support including a help desk, and operating and maintaining the state’s microwave system.

11/11/2001 - 8:00pm