LAS VEGAS—FirstNet’s request for proposal (RFP) is well done and should generate “fierce competition” for the right to build and maintain a nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN), according to Declan Ganley, CEO of Rivada Networks—one of two entities that has stated publicly that it intends to bid on the project.

“I’m not going to be revealing any great trade secrets this close to the RFP submission,” Ganley said during an IWCE 2016 panel discussion. “I can tell you that we will be shouting it from the rooftops, if—as we plan—we are successful in November.

“I say that in full recognition of the fierce competition that we face in this race. The competitors that we are aware of are serious. We respect them and—while we fully intend to defeat them—we certainly don’t take them or treat them lightly.”

Most federal procurements involve the government establishing very prescriptive requirements and selecting the vendor that submits a bid that meets the requirements at the lowest cost. But the FirstNet RFP calls on offeror teams to submit proposals that achieve 16 public-safety objectives and relatively few strict requirements to provide bidders flexibility in the approaches they recommend.

Ganley repeatedly complimented FirstNet for its procurement strategy, noting that one of his colleagues that has considerable experience with federal procurements described the FirstNet RFP as “one of the best-written RFPs he has seen come out of the government.”

 “[The FirstNet RFP] has incentivized what I call the sting of competition,” he said. “It really calls for innovation. It mitigates risk in other areas—areas that are sensible for public safety. It challenges this industry, and it challenges this industry in a very intelligent way, in a way that mitigates risk, rewards innovation and encourages innovation."

With this in mind, Ganley reiterated Rivada Networks’ expectation to face stiff competition when it submits its proposal by the May 13 deadline—a competitive environment that should benefit public safety.

“I know that this is going to provoke good quality bids,” Ganley said. “It may put some people off bidding. But frankly, with those bidders, if they can’t come up with the kind of innovation that’s needed here, they have no business bidding anyway. I’m sure that this is going to get the best solution for public safety and for a FirstNet that is going to be a very crucial and lasting entity, providing public safety with services and being a model for the rest of the world.”