Verizon renews MSA contract with MiCTA

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) on Tuesday renewed its Master Service Agreement (MSA) with MiCTA (formerly known as the Michigan Collegiate Telecommunications Association), a nationwide group-purchasing entity.

Originally signed in Oct. 2010, MiCTA's renewed contract with Verizon runs through 2010. To date, MiCTA said that over 600 government and education entities have use the agreement to buy communications and IT services.

And because the FCC's schools and libraries division approved MiCTA's RFP and RFP process, school systems that need e-rate funding if they use the MiCTA agreement they don't have to make competitive bidding.

"Typically we don't like to go beyond five years maximum on any kind of a technology contract because things change so quickly," said Tim Van Hoff, COO of MiCTA, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We do like to refresh contracts and get new companies in as well because of the changes in the industry."

Van Hoff added that it had a couple of contract extensions available so it decided to award them to Verizon.

Since all of MiCTA's contracts are seen as "living documents" they have built in flexibility so suppliers like Verizon can incorporate other emerging technologies, including video conferencing as those needs emerge.

"Even though we don't like going beyond five years, there's an amendment that's available to vendors to either upgrade or add new services so long as they are in the spirit of the original award of the contract," Van Hoff said.

Under the terms of the renewed contract, Verizon has added a number of new capabilities, including international availability of its Private IP network service; interoperable video conferencing; mobility and managed mobility services; and a cloud-based unified communications and collaboration platform. 

One of the key services that Verizon was able to add under the renewed contract was managed mobility as a service. Having this service on hand for MiCTA's members comes at a time when the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is proliferating state and local government agencies and schools. This means that more employees are using their own mobile devices (i.e., smartphones and tablets) to access applications on their private networks.

"What these services do is enable the MiCTA member to get an accurate inventory of the mobile devices and make sure they have the proper security built into them and that the mobile devices are being used in a manner they have established," said Tom Bostick, Contracting Manager, Government-Education Markets, Verizon Enterprise Solutions. "The MiCTA member, including a government agency or K-12 school can manage that themselves with an application they have available to them on line."  

No less compelling is the IP international service MiCTA can now provide to universities that have extension campuses on military bases in Europe. Verizon is supplying their international IP-based services to tie in their extended campuses on these military bases.  

"With this extension we were able to add our private IP extension service, which allows them to dramatically reduce their costs and stay in direct communications using a private network with their extension campuses they have on these military bases," Bostick said.

For more:
- see the release

Special report: Competitive carriers carve out public sector service niche

Related articles:
Verizon Business extends IP services to MiCTA education, government customers
Tim Van Hoff, COO of MiCTA
Qwest to provide nationwide IP services to MiCTA