GovGuam telecomm services under dispute - News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GovGuam telecomm services under dispute

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - You'd think that with the advancements in technology, the Government of Guam would be operating under one consolidated phone service. That's not the case.

Imagine critical government agencies operating without phone services such as the police and fire departments, or court hearings conducted via videoconference no longer available. The solution - it's not an "ideal arrangement" but it's a temporary fix. Governor Eddie Calvo's Communications Office reports bids for government agency phone services has been under a certificate of emergency, which is a month-to-month agreement that was created because officials say they stumbled along problems when transferring from one provider to another.

"Those are being awarded piece meal by GSA, and one of the issues is that when we go into transition phases between the agencies for one provider to a new provider whether its PDS or anybody else, its never been done before," said Pacific DataSystems president John Day. His company currently holds eleven short-term or month-to-month contracts with GovGuam.

PDS filed a protest against the General Services Agency's chief procurement officer for lack of competitive procurement earlier this year, of which he says, "The problem is a lot of the line agencies were not going out to bid for their telecom, they were just rolling out their contracts year after year and the government tried with two bid procurements to procure he services one in 2009 and another in 2010, but none of those procurements were successful, they didn't close the bid they ended up canceling the bid."

PDS has since received notice from the Attorney General's Office that GSA must follow a competitive process.

In the meantime, GTA TeleGuam - who also provides communication services to the public sector - has now gone beyond the July 1 expiration on their contract. The company agreed to continue services for now, but it's not clear if they will back bill the government for it. GTA officials say they still intend to bid on upcoming service contracts, but declined to detail current contracts under them. A major upcoming contract that has been placed on the backburner since early June is the ongoing procurement for long-term unified phone services.

Said Day, "It covers, phone services, internet access, mobile services, TV, it covers teb different part of telecommunications so its not just traditional phone services, we think, it covers everything."

The bid date is now anticipated to end August 22, however, Day says it would not be surprising if the bid were again extended. If successful, this will be the first time GovGuam has the consolidated service.

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