Arizona becomes third state to issue RFP for statewide public-safety LTE network
The state of Arizona today released a request for proposal (RFP) seeking bids to build and maintain a statewide public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN), if the state opts out of the FirstNet nationwide broadband system for first responders.
Arizona is the third state to take this action—New Hampshire and Alabama have previously—and its RFP calls for bids to be submitted by Oct. 31. Proposals will be evaluated during November and December, with an award being announced as early as December, according to the RFP.
Like the New Hampshire and Alabama procurement documents, the Arizona RFP notes that the state has not yet made a decision whether to pursue the FirstNet opt-out alternative, which would require the state to build and maintain the RAN within its boundaries for the next 25 years.
“The State has not made a decision to accept the proposal made by FirstNet for an NPSBN to serve public-safety entities in Arizona,” according to the Arizona RFP. “Neither has the State chosen to opt-out of the FirstNet offered RAN to serve its public safety entities.
“It is the intent of this document to provide a basis on which to weigh the options available to the State that will satisfy the anticipated 25-year requirements for a wireless public-safety broadband network in Arizona.”
Arizona Gov. Douglas Ducey will decide whether the state will pursue the opt-out alternative. That process calls for approvals of the state’s deployment plan by the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as well as a spectrum-lease agreement with FirstNet.
Arizona’s RFP differs from those issued by New Hampshire and Alabama by not including any language calling for the exploration of transitioning narrowband 700 MHz spectrum in the state to broadband LTE use.
Most of the Arizona RFP mirrors language in the objectives-based FirstNet nationwide RFP and the federal legislation that created FirstNet in 2012. One notable exception is that the Arizona RFP offers specific examples of “public-safety entities” that would qualify for prioritized network access beyond law-enforcement, fire and EMS personnel.
In addition to those associated with the state’s Division of Emergency Management efforts, “public-safety entities include those entities with responsibilities defined in the disaster and emergency operations plans of the State,” the RFP states. “Examples include the following:
“• Arizona Department of Transportation – clearing snow, landslides, bridge issues, travelers’ information and warnings;
“• Arizona Department of Health – infectious diseases, other public health emergencies;
“• Not-for-profit and faith-based disaster relief agencies – American Red Cross, Salvation Army,
“• Transit authorities – evacuation of the public from hazards;
“• School transportation – coordination of evacuations;
“• Schools – security monitoring, emergency response, shelter operations
“• Utilities – gas, water, electric for emergency response, mitigation, and restoration
“• Special authorities and districts – dams and flood control;
“• Parks – security, coordination of emergency respons.
“Public-safety entities in Arizona must also interoperate with personnel other states and Federal
agencies, with cross-border or in-Arizona response duties.”