Colorado has selected the team of Rivada Networks and Macquarie Infrastructure Developments to build and maintain the alternative LTE radio access network (RAN) in the state, if Gov. John Hickenlooper decides the state should pursue the “opt-out” alternative to the FirstNet nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN).

“We are excited to have a potential partner identified for the opt-out scenario so we can identify the best possible solution for Colorado’s portion of the nationwide public-safety broadband network,” Brian Shepherd, Colorado’s single point of contact (SPOC) on the project, said in a prepared statement released earlier this month.

Under the law that established FirstNet, governors in all 56 states and territories have the choice of making an “opt-in” decision—accepting the FirstNet deployment plan and allowing AT&T to build the LTE radio access network (RAN) within the state’s borders at no cost to the state—or pursuing the “opt-out” alternative, which would require the state to be responsible for building and maintaining the RAN for the next 25 years.

With the procurement announcement by FirstNet Colorado and the FirstNet Colorado Governing Body (FNCGB), Colorado joins New Hampshire as the only states to conduct a request-for-proposal (RFP) process and announce a winner. New Hampshire last year named Rivada Networks as its potential vendor after seeking bids on the potential project from vendors.

Whether either state actually will award a contract to build and maintain an alternative RAN is unknown. Officials in both states have stressed that the decision whether to pursue the “opt-out” alternative rest with their respective governors, and multiple federal approvals of the alternative RAN plans must be secured before a contract is signed.

“The FirstNet Colorado team points out that the award is not a decision to opt-out, rather a key step in the process of comparing the two alternatives as defined in the Spectrum Act,” according to a press release from the Colorado office of information technology. “The FNCGB will continue to work with staff to understand both options and make an ultimate recommendation to the governor prior to the Dec. 28 deadline.”

Macquarie will lead the project-finance and project-management efforts in Colorado, while Rivada Networks is expected to handle the network-operations and monetization aspects of the potential project, Rivada Networks spokesman Brian Carney said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. Carney noted that some details regarding vendor responsibilities are still being finalized between the companies and state of Colorado officials.

Meanwhile, Rivada Networks and Macquarie Capital today announced that the companies not only will team in Colorado but also pursue potential “opt-out” contracts in other states.

“For states that opt out, our two companies will work together to develop and finance the build-out of their FirstNet opt-out radio access networks,” Nick Butcher, Macquarie Capital’s global co-head of infrastructure and energy, said in a prepared statement. “We are pleased to have received the conditional award from the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology and look forward to working with the state to develop this exciting project.”