Telecom firms protest bidding process for Florida prison contract

The bidding process of contracting with the state of Florida doesn't always go smoothly, and a private business may have to go to court to set the record straight and secure a lucrative deal. How a company's bid for a contract is calculated may come into question, and that is the case in an ongoing dispute between three large telecommunications companies angling for a contract with Florida's Department of Corrections.

CenturyLink was initially given the contract, though at first the DOC's negotiators ranked Global Tel Link's bid the best. When the firms gave their final offers, however, CenturyLink came away with the contract, but it remains to be seen whether the telecom giant will keep it.

Securus Technologies and Global Tel Link have protested the bidding process, claiming that the DOC didn't properly calculate the bids.

The companies are fighting for the opportunity to provide phone services to Florida prisons, and the bids broke down as follows:

  • Securus bid $77.2 million, with the state receiving a commission of 40 percent.
  • CenturyLink came in with a sum of $65.5 million, with Florida receiving 62 percent in commission.
  • And Global Tel Link bid $59.9 million, giving the state 60.5 percent commission.

After Global Tel Link and Securus complained, the DOC decided to rescind the contract and rebid. In response, CenturyLink also protested the bidding process.

Now representatives of the three companies are scheduled to meet in court on Sept. 11.

If the bidding dispute isn't resolved by Sept. 24, the contract will go to Securus, the company currently contracting with the state.

Floridians interested in business litigation may want to keep an eye on this dispute as it moves forward.

Source: The Florida Current, "3-way brawl: Telecom companies fight for multimillion dollar prison telephone contract," Gray R ohrer, Aug. 21, 2013