The GAO addressed the General Services Administration's (GSA) management and procurement of telecommunications equipment and telecommunications services under the divestiture of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) and the Federal Communications Commission's Second Computer Inquiry.
Traditionally, the GSA has ordered telephone services and equipment from AT&T. Presently, under divestiture, the GSA must estimate future telecommunications needs, design solicitations, and competitively procure large amounts of telecommunications equipment in a cost-effective manner. The GAO found that the GSA has not yet adjusted to the new telecommunications environment. Decisions have resulted in actions that lack sound legal bases.
Because the GSA did not perform cost analysis of lease versus purchase, consider future service options, purchase customer premises equipment (CPE), or arrange for continued maintenance of leased CPE during the years before deregulation actually took place, the GSA was forced to engage in questionable last minute procurement practices. Further, the GSA has neither given sufficient management attention to the implementation of a multifaceted program nor developed a comprehensive plan to coordinate its actions. The GAO found that, as a result, the first of many large procurements is late.
The GAO recommends:
The Administrator of General Services should
- take prompt action to issue a request for proposal (RFP) to competitively procure the equipment that is currently leased under novation agreements with AT&T Information Systems.
- take prompt action to identify and define basic requirements to be met in both developing RFPs and awarding contracts for future aggregated switch procurements.
- delay the issuance of additional RFPs for aggregated switch procurements until the requirements for them are developed.