After a winning partner has been selected, FirstNet will be able to propose its plan to each of the 56 states and territories, hopefully during the early part of 2017. At that point, each governor will decide whether to accept FirstNet’s plan or the “opt out” alternative, which requires the state to build the radio access network (RAN) within its jurisdiction.

FirstNet officials hope that governors will make these decisions by the end of 2017, which would allow the proposed public-safety  broadband network to be operational during 2018 in some parts of the country.

FirstNet’s RFP will total 508 pages, but 339 of the pages are attachments (more than 100 pages were included in FirstNet’s draft RFP that was released in April). Kennedy described the core portion of the RFP, which includes the sections A through M that are typical in a federal procurement, as “quite concise,” particularly for such a large procurement.

Although the RFP follows the structure of a standard federal procurement, Kennedy said the objectives-based approach is far from typical.

“Because we’re looking at a public-private-partnership model and we’ve gone with a statement of objectives, we have not been overly prescriptive,” Kennedy said. “A lot of other RFPs of this size would have over 10,000 requirements and very detailed ways to respond to each and every item.

“We’ve very much stayed with where we’ve been all along, with a statement of objectives. We’re not telling industry how to respond to it; we’re telling them the outcomes that we’re looking for. That’s very non-standard, but we’ve been able to layer it into the standard sections, but the actual RFP that people will read I think will be very refreshing and different from what they’ve done before.”