FirstNet has released 217 pages of responses to 666 questions associated with its draft RFP documents, largely reiterating its openness to myriad approaches that would address the organization’s public-safety broadband mission, while acknowledging that decisions have not yet been made in several key areas that could impact the economics of potential bids.

FirstNet Chairwoman Sue Swenson last week said she is encouraged by the number of questions submitted in the proceeding.

“I couldn’t believe the number of questions we got about the draft RFP—over 650 questions came in about that RFP,” Swenson said during a keynote address at the NENA 2015 Conference & Expo in Denver. “I actually think that’s a good-news story, because that shows the degree of interest that people have about this project.”

Some notable findings provided in the responses included clarifications regarding language that appeared to be in conflict in various parts of FirstNet’s massive draft RFP documents, such as the proposed timeline for staged deployments. Perhaps the most tangible change included in the responses was a decision to adopt a broader definition of companies that would qualify to meet federal “small business” contractor goals.

“The determination has been made to change the NAICS [North American Industry Classification System] code from 517919, All Other Telecommunications, to 517210 Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite),” FirstNet states in its response to question 517. “This change will be reflected in a subsequent RFP.”

Another key clarification cited in several questions is that FirstNet does not intend to broker any agreements between the winning bidder(s) and owners of existing infrastructure, such as state and local governments. Instead, the winning offeror(s) would be responsible for negotiating any such deals to utilize existing infrastructure.

With this in mind, entities with existing infrastructure that could be leveraged in the FirstNet system should not expect to cut a deal with FirstNet itself in return for “user-fee credits,” according to the response document.

“FirstNet will leverage, to the maximum extent economically desirable, existing commercial, state, tribal, and local infrastructure,” FirstNet states in its response to question 48. “It is unclear, at this time, exactly how, or if, existing infrastructure will be leveraged in the solution. It is unlikely, however, that FirstNet will provide credits for the use of infrastructure, which is currently anticipated to be provided by offerors as part of their proposed solutions.”

In addition, FirstNet’s responses offer some insights into its current thinking—without making a firm commitment—in some notable areas, such as stating that “FirstNet foresees that the contractor(s) will hold the contract with public safety entities” in question 565 and that “cloud services are a potential revenue stream for the offeror(s) and a value-add for some PSEs [public-safety entities] in question 573.