LA-RICS to restart bidding for LTE, P25 projects
After years of work selecting a vendor for a massive public-safety communications project, the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) last week scrapped its procurement process in favor of rebidding.
Earlier this year, Raytheon was selected as the vendor to build the communications system, which would have incorporated both 700 MHz narrowband P25 land-mobile-radio and 700 MHz broadband LTE technologies to enhance first-responder communications in the area. Motorola Solutions, another bidder, has protested the process repeatedly. Raytheon has been in final negotiations on a contract for several months.
Last week, Raytheon was notified that the project would have to be rebid, although company officials were not clear about the reasoning for the decision.
“The attorneys basically said there were procurement issues and there has to be new RFPs,” said Mike Bostic, Raytheon’s director of public-safety solutions. “That was as much information as we were given, and they disbanded the whole thing … To be perfectly honest with you, we’re not clear why they did it.
“To say that we are very disappointed would be a gross understatement.”
By opting to restart the process, LA-RICS may have difficulty building the proposed project. According to media reports, more than $260 million in federal grants are at stake. Among this total is $154.6 million in broadband grants, but that grant stipulates that two-thirds of the LTE network has to be built within a year—a timeline that many industry observers believe is impossible, with the bidding process just restarting.
Bostic said he believes Raytheon and its partner companies could meet the compressed deadlines, if given the chance.
“They had an opportunity for some great technology,” Bostic said. “I hope they get it.”