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12 23Wed12022015


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Back Local News GTA protests GDOE’s 2-year-old WAN contract with PDS

GTA protests GDOE’s 2-year-old WAN contract with PDS

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GTA TeleGuam is challenging the Guam Department of Education’s two-year-old contract with Pacific Data Systems for Wide Area Network (WAN) services, a protest that the contracting carrier said came way too late.

In a protest filed Friday, GTA urged the education department to cancel its 2011 contract with Pacific Data Systems for failure to deliver the WAN capacity specified in the bidding.

At the same time, GTA questioned the education department’s decision to allow Pacific Data Systems to provide “temporary service” despite the non-availability of E-rate funding during the service period.

PDS President John Day said a possible cancellation of the existing contract would result in Internet disconnections at all public schools.

GTA and Pacific Data Systems have been exchanging protests and counter-protests over biddings for several government projects, including the suspended master contract for a wholesale package of telecommunication services for all GovGuam agencies.

‘Untimely protest’

Describing GTA’s action as “sour grapes ranting,” Day said the protest “is untimely and clearly outside of the 14-day timeline required by Guam Procurement Law.”

GTA said the contract award was dated March 23, 2011. PDS said the contract was awarded in May 2011.

“Their protest includes no new facts to justify this protest. Aside from the fact that the protest is untimely, the allegations contained within the protest are untrue and do not represent the actual facts of the matter,” Day said.

GTA’s attorney Serge Quenga said the protest was on information provided by the department on Aug. 16 this year in response to the company’s Sunshine Act request.

“DOE Procurement Regulation 9.2.3 and 5 Guam Code Annotated, Section 5425(a) enables a bidder to protest a contract that has already been in place,” GTA Executive Vice President Dan Tydingco said in an email to Variety.

He said GTA just recently discovered, through the Sunshine Act requests, that the department reneged on its own obligations and violated its own bid specifications.

According the protest, the bid required capacities of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 1,000 megabits per second for the education department’s WAN.

“From July 1, 2011, the date when the service was to have been rendered, to the present, students, teachers and taxpayers have not received what was called for in the bid,” Tydingco said.

“Instead of availing of the E-rate federal funding to subsidize this service, DOE has fully absorbed costs with local taxpayer funds for a service which has been disallowed by the federal authorities. In short, they awarded a bid to a provider who has overpromised and underperformed,” he added.

Day, however, disputed GTA’s claims, saying PDS is providing 1-gigabyte WAN services to all of the public schools as specified in the procurement.

“These services, and the previous lower capacity services provided by PDS, are fully compliant with the GDOE procurement and qualify for all applicable E-rate reimbursements,” the PDS president said.

No E-rate funding

The department has engaged PDS’ temporary service as “a temporary solution” when it found that the carrier was unable to provide the WAN capacity sought in the bidding, GTA alleged.

It also alleged the department failed to notify PDS of non-availability of E-rate funding for temporary service until May 2012, a year after the contract went into effect.

“The contract and its annual continuation shall be contingent upon annual approvals by the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company, funding by the U.S. Congress and the availability of matching funds by the GDOE,” GTA stated in its protest.

And even after education official David Cruz informed PDS a year later that “the cost for the temporary service is not eligible,” the department continued the contract, GTA said.

Costly delay

“GTA has taken to using the procurement protest and appeals process in an attempt to delay, block, or overturn procurement awards to PDS,” Day said.

“As the incumbent provider of many of these services, GTA benefits from delays in the implementation of these awards, while the government of Guam and taxpayers are harmed due to the fact that they continue to have to pay GTA higher costs for needed telecom services,” he added.

Day said the costs of delay, amounting to $1 million a year in lost savings, are significantly higher than the cost of the new services awarded to PDS.

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