Alabama delays timeline for statewide public-safety LTE procurement until after national FirstNet announcement
State of Alabama officials have decided to extend the deadline for vendors to submit proposals to build a statewide public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN) that would be integrated with the national FirstNet system, if the governor chooses to pursue the opt-out alternative to FirstNet deploying the system within the state’s borders. The new submission deadline is 15 business days after the announcement of the FirstNet nationwide award.
Last month, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) issued a request for proposal (RFP) that required vendors to submit bids by Oct. 14, but that deadline was extended to Oct. 24 “due to the fact that some vendors had difficulty accessing the RFP document,” according to a letter from the state.
Shortly thereafter, Rivada Networks—the winner of the New Hampshire public-safety LTE procurement process—announced that it would not bid on any statewide RAN procurements until the identity of the nationwide FirstNet contractor is known. Other vendors expressed similar reservations, causing the state of Alabama to adjust the deadline to the 15th business day after winner of the FirstNet nationwide procurement is announced, according to an ALEA public news release.
“Several major vendors known to have the experience and capability to perform the services required within the state’s RFP indicated they would be unable to submit a proposal for the AL PSB-RAN until the FirstNet partner is announced,” the release states. “Multiple vendors requested an extension to the closing date of the AL PSB-RAN that would coincide with FirstNet’s announcement of its nationwide partner. In all, the State has received six (6) requests for an extension to the response deadline and 12 requests for the state to entertain questions related to the AL PSB-RAN RFP.”
RFP questions were due yesterday, but the final submission date remains unknown, because no one knows when the winner of the nationwide FirstNet award will be announced. FirstNet officials initially expressed a desire to make the announcement by Nov. 1, but an news that the pdvWireless-led bidding team was notified last Monday that it had been removed from consideration has caused many industry sources to question whether the Nov. 1 goal is logistically achievable.
With the pdvWireless-led team out of contention, the two publicly announced offeror teams that remain in consideration are led by AT&T and Rivada Mercury, which is a consortium spearheaded by Rivada Networks. Whether any bidding teams that have not been announced publicly remain in contention is unknown.
Arizona also has issued an RFP for a statewide public-safety LTE RAN buildout within its jurisdiction, with bids initially scheduled to be due next Monday. Vendors were informed last week that the submission deadline will be extended—likely to the latter portion of November—but an exact date has not been determined as of press time, according to Timothy Chung, assistant director for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.