A Verizon executive told the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) board on Thursday that his company would submit a proposal to build an alternative LTE radio access network (RAN) to serve public-safety users in California in an “opt-out” scenario, if the state initiates a procurement process.

The statement was made before the board of directors of the LA-RICS Joint Powers Authority (JPA), noting that the pledge actually was a repeat of a statement delivered last month to the California First Responder Network (CalFRN) board, according to Priscilla Lara, a member of the LA-RICS project team.

“At today’s LA-RICS JPA Board of Director’s meeting, David Wiederecht—director, Public Safety Solutions Group of Verizon—addressed the board members and reiterated the statement made to the CalFRN board on October 11, 2017, that Verizon will bid, if the state of California issues an RFP for an alternative RAN vendor to FirstNet,” Lara stated in an e-mail to IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

“In addition, on his request-to-speak card, he [Wiederecht] wrote that Verizon supports choice, open competition, and interoperability on a public-safety grade network for our public-safety community.”

Multiple sources associated with the California process previously have hinted that Verizon has expressed interest in a potential California request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids for potential vendor to build and maintain an alternative RAN in the state under an “opt-out” scenario. Most cited the statement to the CalFRN board, but the minutes of that meeting were not public, and video of the meeting had not been posted at the time of IWCE’s Urgent Communications’ interviews with the sources.

However, video from the Oct. 11 meeting of the CalFRN board is available online. During the meeting, Wiederecht reiterated Verizon’s plan to build a dedicated public-safety LTE core for its network that is designed to mirror the functionality of FirstNet LTE core being built by AT&T. Wiederecht also addressed Verizon’s willingness to participate in an alternative RAN procurement in California.

“We’ve been asked the question: Should California put out an RFP to consider its options, would Verizon respond?” Wiederecht said during the Oct. 11 CalFRN board meeting. “And the answer is ‘Yes.’ We want to make that that’s clear.

“We believe that competitive environments are best for public safety, and we want to let you all know that you can absolutely continue to count on Verizon. We will work hard to earn the continued opportunity to be the preferred provider. But we believe, in a competitive environment—working together with carriers, especially at the application level—that is going to enable public safety to win and be able to realize the benefit of an interoperable arrangement.

“That’s why we are making this stance and making these investments on our end. We’re making it very publicly known that we will be complementary with FirstNet, but we’re absolutely going to compete with AT&T.

In multiple interviews with IWCE’s Urgent Communications, Verizon officials have declined to comment on questions regarding the carrier giant’s willingness to participate in any alternative RAN procurement process. However, Rivada Networks CEO Declan Ganley repeatedly has stated publicly that Verizon is one of the bidders his company is competing against in the Rhode Island procurement process.