Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Technical Evaluation; Proposals
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: Because an agency’s evaluation is dependent on the information provided in a proposal, it is the offeror’s responsibility to submit an adequately written proposal for the agency to evaluate.
Network Innovations, Inc. protests the award of a contract under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the United States Marine Corps, for wireless internet services.
The RFP provided for the award of a fixed-price contract for wireless internet service. A detailed statement of work (SOW) was provided that described the required services and provided performance-based standards. The contractor would be responsible for the design and installation of a system, and for all labor, supervision, and equipment necessary to satisfy the SOW requirements. Among other things, the contractor was required to furnish satellite and wireless network equipment to accommodate the necessary bandwidth at each service location and to offer a “[h]ighly redundant network design.” Offerors were also informed that the contractor must provide a network capacity that would support 6,000 concurrent users at one camp, and 1,500 concurrent users each at two other camps, all at a data transmission level of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) per 512 users. The RFP stated that award would be made on a lowest-price, technically acceptable basis
Network, the incumbent, was found unacceptable under the following four subfactors: final solution design, delivery capability, redundancy, and capacity. Network challenges the agency’s evaluation of its proposal under each of the four subfactors.
The solicitation informed offerors that, to satisfy the standard for the capacity subfactor, an offeror must detail how it would provide service to 6,000 concurrent users at one camp, and 1,500 concurrent users each at two other camps, all at a data transmission level of 10 Mbps per 512 users. The solicitation further instructed offerors to describe a feasible and reliable way of providing services to the number of users specified in the SOW (that is, the users at each of the three camps). GAO agreed with the Agency that it is not enough just to promise to meet the specification, as the protester did in its proposal. It had to provide detail as to how it would provide a total bandwidth capacity of 177 Mbps for each of the three camps.
GAO also does not agree with Network that it otherwise adequately demonstrated its ability to satisfy the capacity standard by stating in the past performance section of its proposal that Network, as the incumbent contractor, was currently providing internet service to all three camps. Because an agency’s evaluation is dependent on the information provided in a proposal, it is the offeror’s responsibility to submit an adequately written proposal for the agency to evaluate. Network failed to do so, and GAO finds that the agency reasonably determined that its proposal was unacceptable under this subfactor. The protest is denied.