The government on Wednesday issued an official request for proposals (RFP) for a mandated nationwide network for first responders, commonly known as FirstNet.
According to the RFP, the First Responder Network Authority is seeking a “comprehensive solution” from bidders that will cover each of the 56 states and territories in the country and include “all personnel, materials, services, facilities, management, and other resources necessary.”
Required components of each bid solution must include a nationwide core network and radio access network services; “backhaul, aggregation, and the use of national transport networks and operation centers; a device ecosystem; use of network infrastructure; deployable capabilities; use of operational and business support systems; an applications ecosystem; network services; and the integration, maintenance, operational services, and ongoing evolution of these systems required to function fully as an operational wireless 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards-based Long Term Evolution (LTE) NPSBN,” according to the RFP’s objective statement. The network must ensure coverage at all times, the statement said.
Thanks to the 2012 mandate establishing FirstNet, the network has been granted a license for use of the 700 MHz D block spectrum as well as existing public safety broadband spectrum. The RFP said the network will have run of a 20MHz swath of the Band 14 spectrum, but specified that the contractor must maximize use of that chunk for public safety while also ensuring a “self-sustaining business model.”
Solutions to this end may include “’in kind’ and/or monetary value provided by the Contractor in consideration of secondary use of FirstNet’s excess network capacity” as well as “various partnerships and business arrangements that monetize new public safety market offerings via devices, applications, and other value-added benefits and services that enhance the public safety user experience,” according to the objective statement.
Though the First Responder Network Authority will maintain oversight of the network and devices, the contractor will also be responsible for all “marketing, product management, sales and distribution, customer care, and network deployment, operation and evolution,” the objective statement said.
The First Responder Network Authority said Wednesday’s RFP was the result of “more than a year of dialogue” with industry, state, federal and public safety representatives to determine the scope and specifications of the project. Through the process, the agency held two Industry Day public events, met with interested vendors and answered more than 650 questions related to network specifications.
“This is an opportunity to revolutionize how first responders do their job, and we appreciate the valuable public safety feedback we have received to make this happen,” said FirstNet President TJ Kennedy said in a statement. “FirstNet is thrilled to issue an RFP that will promote innovation and deliver the best value to the public safety community.”
In previous months, rumors have swirled as analysts have sought to predict the most likely candidate for the buildout. In October, New York City-based independent investment banking advisory firm Evercore ISI placed its bets on Verizon.
Bids are due by April 29, 2016, but questions and capability statements must be submitted by February 12 and March 17, respectively. The authority said it expects to award the project to a contractor in the fourth quarter of 2016.
A public webinar will be held tomorrow from 1 to 3 p.m. to review key elements of the RFP with interested parties. Access to the webinar can be gained through FirstNet’s website via a link to the event from FirstNet’s homepage.
Filed Under: Infrastructure