Procurement

FirstNet pushes bid deadline two weeks

large broadcasting antenna

On Feb. 19, the First Responder Network Authority released its first set of answers to more than 400 questions posed by potential bidders on its Request for Proposals to deploy a nationwide public safety broadband network. To allow time to answer more of the questions -- and to give industry a chance to digest that feedback -- FirstNet extended its deadline for submission of optional capability statements from March 17 to March 31. The capability statements are voluntary, 50-page summations that potential bidders can submit showing how they can provide services to support FirstNet. The deadline for final bid proposals also was pushed back by two weeks, from April 29 to May 13.

FirstNet President TJ Kennedy has said his organization plans to award the contract in the fourth quarter of 2016, and to begin deploying the network in mid-2017. And FirstNet spokeswoman April Ward said these deadline extensions won’t affect the target date for a contract award.

The final RFP, she said, drew about 400 questions from vendors, which FirstNet has begun answering in batches. The initial batch released on Feb. 19 covers about 50 questions. Releases will continue every week until all 400 questions are answered, she added. FirstNet has also invited potential bidders to a Pre-Proposal Conference on March 10 at its Reston, Va., headquarters.

The complex RFP, released Jan. 13, contained over 50 sections, maps and tables. Its release followed more than a year of dialogue with public safety and industry leaders on objectives and scope. That back-and-forth included 13 requests for information, a series of draft RFPs, two public industry days, and more than 650 questions related to network specifications in the draft RFP.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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