Phone contract comments allowed to Dec. 7

PHOTO/James MacPherson/AJOC
State officials have extended the comment period for response to selection of Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. to provide state government telecommunications services in a five-year, $92.5 million contract.

The move delays signing of the contract, which calls for ACS to take over most state telecommunications services soon after completing the process.

The comment period, originally scheduled to conclude Nov. 26, was extended through Dec. 7, said Jim Duncan, commissioner of the state Department of Administration.

Duncan and other state officials decided to lengthen the original 10-day comment period after receiving a request from competing contract bidder General Communication Inc., he said.

State officials believed the request was valid since there were many contract documents to review and the comment period coincided with the Thanksgiving holiday, he said.

"We thought it was a reasonable request," Duncan said.

At press time Duncan had received no protests against the new contract.

Once the comment period is concluded, the state will either sign the contract or evaluate possible protests filed, he said.

The Department of Administration issued a notice of intent to award the contract to Anchorage-based ACS on Nov. 15.

The new contract aims to streamline state telecommunications services. The state issued a request for proposals in August 2000, and bids were due that December.

ACS plans to provide $29 million in capital investments as part of the contract.

Key elements in the contract include improved broadband services to state offices in urban and rural Alaska and reduction of the state’s long-distance calling costs by allowing calls between state offices to be local calls. With final approval of the contract, ACS would provide improved cellular and satellite phone service. Video conferencing is also part of the contract.

12/09/2001 - 8:00pm