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Serving Uncle Sam.


Uncle Sam faces a whale of a phone bill--but will avoid many of the traditional hands-on management headaches. FTS 2000, the newest version of Federal Telecommunications Services, is providing the federal government with long-distance services for the next 10 years. Total cost: $25 billion.

Under the contracts, the General Services Administration will purchase services rather than leasing the equipment itself. GSA will oversee the contractors' management of the system rather than manage the system itself.

Old Lease System

In the past, GSA managed a system of leased equipment.

AT&T and US Sprint are the major benefactors, according to Ralph V. Carlone, assistant comptroller general.

In a recently released report, Carlone notes that use of FTS 2000 telecomm services is mandatory for most executive agencies unless they are granted a specific exemption.

FTS 2000 covers voice, data and video services not previously available under FTS. In addition to switched voice, it will provide circuit-and packet-switched data, dedicated transmission, video transmission, and switched digital integrated service.

Two new services, nationwadi E-mail and two-way video teleconferencing, were not previously available under FTS. They will be available to all agencies 30 days after receiving voice services.

AT&T and US Sprint will deliver both new and existing capabilities to delivery points where the agency connects its equipment to receive FTS 2000 services.

Switched voice will be available throught out the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, on a seven-day 24-hour basis. It will include agency recorded announcements, audio teleconferencing, and network services attendants.

Circuit switched data, up to 56 kb/s, uses digital transmission and flexible routing to establish communications paths for data. It is intended for high-speed data requirements when transmitting large volumes of data.

Packet-switched data services will support E-mail services in addition to exchange of low to medium volumes of data that are sent sporadically.

Dedicated analog service will support voice and data up to 9600 b/s.

Dedicated digital will run at 64 kb/s.

T1 services will be offered for high volume applications.

Color Video

The video services will be color, both wideband and compressed.

Wideband uses satellite links to broadcast commercial network-quality teleconferences to many locations simultaneously.

Compressed video uses digital technology to transmit near-full-motion video over fiber optil lines.

The switched digital integrated services will allow an agency to integrate voice and data onto a single line. This will permit, for example, voice teleconferencing while displaying data or graphics on a remote terminal.

GSA requires full interoperability between the US Sprint and AT&T networks.

What they could not require was identical pricing between competitiors. So, GSA is "levelizing" prices between the two networks so agencies pay about the same for services regardless of teh network serving them.
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Title Annotation:telephone networks
Publication:Communications News
Date:Jun 1, 1990
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