North Carolina’s RFP notes that bidders could be preparing proposals for a contract that may never be realized, as the governor first would have make an “opt-out” decision. Even if the “opt-out” decision is made, the state’s alternative RAN plan would have to be approved by the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and a spectrum-lease agreement with FirstNet must be completed before a contract would be signed.

Although the initial state plans are “actionable”—enabling governors to accept the FirstNet plan early, which has occurred in 11 states and one territory—they do not include several components that are critical to state considering the “opt-out” alternative. For instance, the initial state plans do not include the amount a state would receive in a construction grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the payments a state would have to make to use FirstNet’s 700 MHz spectrum, or the cost of using FirstNet’s LTE network core under an “opt-out” scenario.

In addition to North Carolina, 10 other states have issued RFPs seeking vendor proposals for an alternative to FirstNet’s state plan: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Of these states, only New Hampshire has completed the procurement process, selecting Rivada Networks to be its vendor in an “opt-out” scenario.

Michigan also issued an RFP and completed a procurement process, but the state recently announced that it would “opt-in” to FirstNet.