Rivada Targets Opt-Out States After Losing Court Decision
Monday, March 20, 2017 | Comments

The same day the company lost its pre-award protest of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) request for proposals (RFP), Rivada Networks released a press release saying it will “work directly with the states and territories that may want to exercise their right to opt out of FirstNet’s federal solution.”

Rivada is already working with New Hampshire on an alternative plan for that state if it decides to opt out and is bidding on similar work in other states. The press release said it has “already delivered a draft state plan to New Hampshire.”

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims released a judgment March 17 denying Rivada Mercury’s motion and granting the government and AT&T’s cross motions for judgment. Each side must pay its own costs, the judgment said.

Rivada Networks is the main player in the Rivada Mercury consortium of companies that bid on the FirstNet network. The FirstNet board of directors plans to hold a special meeting to determine next steps, although at press time the meeting hadn’t been scheduled. AT&T is the only company that publicly announced a bid for the RFP that is still in the “competitive range.”

Earlier this month, an AT&T executive said the nationwide carrier is optimistic about its chances of winning the FirstNet contract for the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) and the contract’s potential spectrum and funding opportunities.

Approved in 2012 by Congress, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act created FirstNet and requires FirstNet to oversee the construction and operation of a high-speed wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. Each state and territory has the option to accept the federal solution for their state or to develop their own radio access network (RAN), subject to federal approval and interoperability requirements.

Last week, the state of Michigan released an RFP to provide an alternative to the offer from FirstNet. The RFP invites qualified entities to submit a proposal for the design, installation and operation of a statewide broadband wireless system to serve Michigan public-safety entities.

Alabama released a state RAN RFP last year, and Colorado plans to release an RFP later this month or in April. California released a request for information (RFI) for a statewide public-safety RAN in November.

“We are fully prepared to execute our plan to work with the states to build state-of-the art, dedicated networks for public safety,” said Joe Euteneuer, co-CEO, Rivada Networks. “We applaud New Hampshire’s recognition of Rivada’s experienced management team, technology and technical expertise and believe many other states will make a similar selection.

“FirstNet has made its choice. Now it is time for states to make theirs. Those that stand by idly will be forced into a federal solution that may or may not suit their needs or budgets. We look forward to working with the states to ensure that they receive a network equal to the promise made to public safety when FirstNet was created.”

The federal judgment said Rivada Mercury has 60 days to appeal. In a March 17 tweet, Rivada Networks CEO Declan Ganley said the company is considering an appeal. "We are still evaluating the opinion and considering our options," a Rivada spokesman said.

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