Competitive carriers carve out public sector service niche

Competitive government providersWhen we released our Rising Government Communications Stars list in late August, one of the comments that came from our readers was that we should look at how competitive service providers are serving one of the largest and most diverse vertical markets.

"ILECs seem to have a monopoly on contracting with the world's largest customer; how about an article on CLEC government contracting?" the reader asked.

The reader's point is well taken, as it is true that there are a number of willing and able competitive service providers ready to help the government fulfill its civilian and defense missions.  

Well, we have now put that feedback into action with the debut of our second feature installment that chronicles the movement of five competitive service providers targeting the public sector.  

Of course, the big opportunities for all of these competitive providers, each working with the five major service provider subcontractors, are the General Services Administration's (GSA) Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise contracts in addition to the Washington Interagency Telecommunications Services-3 (WITS-3) contract.

While it's true that the large incumbent service providers, joined by IXC Sprint (NYSE: S) and competitive provider Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT), are the dominant purveyors of wireline services to the federal government, the reality is they can't do it all alone.

Take 8x8's (Nasdaq: EGHT) move into the public sector. A consumer VoIP service provider, 8x8 has over the past year been expanding its presence in the business market. To get a shot at the public sector, it struck an important partnership with Level 3--a current Networx Enterprise and WITS-3 contract holder.  

But Networx isn't the only opportunity competitive providers are going after. All of them are providing services directly to the government through other GSA contracts, including GSA Schedule 70 and other direct contract awards.

In this second installment of our public sector feature, we'll chronicle the strategies and the approaches of five competitive service providers that are targeting the federal and state and local government industry vertical.  

    As always, I am curious to hear your thoughts about this feature. Take a look and let us know what you think.