FirstNet receives multiple capability statements, ‘optimistic’ about RFP competition
FirstNet today received multiple capability statements from potential offerors—the strongest indication to date that there will be bidders vying for the right to build and maintain FirstNet’s much-anticipated nationwide public-safety broadband networks (NPSBN).
“We received multiple capability statements from industry,” a FirstNet spokesperson said in a prepared statement. “We’re optimistic this means it will be a competitive process moving forward.”
FirstNet did not release the names of any offerors that submitted the capability statements, but Rivada Networks yesterday tweeted that it had submitted its capability statement to FirstNet. Rivada Networks has been an expected bidder in the FirstNet initiative; in fact, CEO Declan Ganley last week said his company expects “fierce” competition as it seeks to become the FirstNet contractor.
FirstNet released its request for proposal (RFP) in January, and final bids are due on May 13. Today was the deadline for offerors to submit capability statements that outline how they plan to meet all 16 of FirstNet’s public-safety objectives. Evaluators will review each capability statement, then the offeror will be told whether its current plan makes it a viable bidder for the 25-year contract or whether it should enhance its capabilities before submitting a detailed proposal by May 13, according to the RFP.
Although FirstNet officials have encouraged potential offerors to submit capability statements, they have stressed that doing so is optional. Offerors can submit bids by May 13 without offering a capability statement, and those submitting a capability statement are not obligated to make a final bid.
FirstNet hopes to select its contractor and finalize the terms of the deal by Nov. 1, according to the RFP.
Throughout the FirstNet process, some public-safety officials have expressed concern that there might not be any bidders willing to tackle the task of building the proposed NPSBN. In 2008, a different proposal to leverage the same 700 MHz spectrum that is licensed to FirstNet for such a network failed, because the FCC did not receive a qualifying bid in an auction for the right to work with public safety to build and maintain a proposed broadband system.