GSA Awards Three

U.S. General Services Administration awards a record contract:
Dealing a significant blow to Sprint Nextel, the government on Thursday awarded the largest-ever federal telecommunications contract _ a 10-year deal worth up to $48 billion _ to its rivals AT&T, Qwest Communications and Verizon.

The three contract winners will split $525 million, but beyond that they will have to compete with each other for the business of dozens of federal agencies needing to enhance the quality and security of voice, video and data technologies, the General Services Administration announced.

Phone Deal Goes to Qwest, AT&T, Verizon, By DIBYA SARKAR, The Associated Press, Thursday, March 29, 2007; 5:54 PM

At least there’s an element of competition (with three providers rather than two in previous incarnations of the contract). On the other hand, Sprint had had the contract for 20 years, and losing it means Sprint is less viable, so that could mean one less big telco, and less competition longterm. We’ll see. Meanwhile, there’s another GSA award of similar size coming in May that Sprint expects to win.

Leaving aside Aristotelian conflict for a moment, there’s also the question of content: can any of these telcos provide real fast broadband?