Colorado to Release Public-Safety LTE RFP in Coming Weeks
Tuesday, March 07, 2017 | Comments
The state of Colorado plans to release a public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) request for proposals (RFP) in late March or early April.

The RFP will help identify the details of a First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) opt-out scenario for the state so Colorado’s decision-makers have all necessary information, said Brian Shepherd, Colorado’s broadband program manager.

“Our objective has always been to ensure that we provide as thorough an analysis as possible when it comes to the ultimate decision to opt-in/out of the FirstNet plan,” said Shepherd, who is also Colorado’s single point of contact (SPOC). “We believe the only way to accomplish this is to have two fully vetted options to compare.”

The contract award for the FirstNet deployment partner could occur as early as this month. Given a projected FirstNet partner contract award in March, the official state plan review period could begin sometime in September. An initial review of the draft plan could start earlier than September, possibly in June, based on FirstNet’s recently outlined first 100 days.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 that created FirstNet requires it to develop a plan for the radio access network (RAN) portion of the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) to be deployed in each of the 56 U.S. states and territories. The act also requires every governor to make a decision to either opt in or opt out of the RAN plan proposed by FirstNet.

If a governor chooses to opt in, FirstNet will deploy the RAN in that state according to the proposed state plan. Opt-out states will take on the responsibility to design, install and maintain the RAN in the state. In either case, the state’s RAN will connect to the nationwide core deployed and operated by FirstNet and be part of the interoperable nationwide network.

Colorado’s state RFP builds on a request for information (RFI) released about a year ago. The purpose of the RFI was to get feedback on general ideas and concepts, which have been integrated into the RFP, Shepherd said.

Colorado received 11 responses to the RFI, although the RFI responses remain confidential until the entire process has been completed.

“We are currently working with our consultants to develop a decision methodology that can be used at both a local and state level,” he said. “It will look at a number of key technical, operational and financial factors that address the overall impact of the proposed plan to a jurisdiction and the likelihood they would adopt the network.”

An early builder public-safety LTE network operates in Adams County, Colorado. The system is one of five early builder networks around the country and serves as the host core for an early builder network in New Mexico.

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