Santa Clara County yesterday submitted a letter of intent to participate in the 700 MHz LTE network for public safety being built in the San Francisco Bay Area, even though county officials have been critical of the BayWEB initiative and the county was deemed a non-participant earlier this week.

Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern, executive sponsor of BayWEB, said he received the Santa Clara County letter of intent yesterday, which was the deadline by which Ahern’s office had asked entities in the region to provide written interest in participating. Ahern said the deadline was set by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which awarded a $50.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grant to Motorola that will fund much of the 193-site LTE deployment.

“I just got a letter from Santa Clara stating that they have their written letter of intent,” Ahern said yesterday.

In a letter written by its counsel, Santa Clara County said it “continues to support the ultimate goal of the BTOP grant project and desires to participate in a project that is free from fraud and misrepresentation.” During the past three months, Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith has been outspoken in his criticism of the processes used to select Motorola as a BayWEB private partner and to allocate funds for Project Cornerstone, the BayWEB pilot project.

This week’s letter of intent follows several days of Ahern perceiving that Santa Clara County did not want to participate in the BayWEB effort. Last week, Smith sent Ahern’s office an e-mail stating that Santa Clara County would like to participate in BayWEB if none of nine statements — most of which Smith had alleged previously — were true.

At the time, Ahern said none of the conditional statements were true but interpreted the e-mail as an indication that Santa Clara County did not want to participate.

With the new letter of intent, Santa Clara County representatives are expected to attend a meeting tomorrow in which a BayWEB governance structure and “very rough” financial estimates will be discussed, Ahern said.

To date, the most notable entities that have not submitted a letter of intent have been the city of San Jose — the largest city in the Bay Area — and Santa Cruz County. Ahern said he will continue to work with San Jose.

“We’re inviting them to our meeting,” Ahern said. “We know they took a vote that said that, at this time, they’re not going to participate. I think they are talking about the process and they’re worried about any inappropriate actions. But we want to continue to work with them.”