State Seeks Bids For FirstNet System

The state has issued an RFP for a “partner to build, operate, and maintain a statewide Public Safety Broadband Radio Access Network.”  The actual contract is contingent on Governor Eric Greitens’ decision to opt-out of FirstNet.

Last year the Atlantic wrote: The prize for the most wasteful post-9/11 initiative arguably should go to FirstNet—a whole new agency set up to provide a telecommunications system exclusively for firefighters, police, and other first responders. They would communicate on bandwidth worth billions of dollars in the commercial market but now reserved by the Federal Communications Commission for FirstNet… According to the GAO, estimates of its cost range from $12 billion to $47 billion, even as advances in digital technology seem to have eliminated the need to spend any of it.

State must decide to opt-in or opt-out.  StateScoop writes: The decision to opt out would place the burden on a given state of constructing an equivalent wireless data network that could be connected to the $46.5 billion national system being developed by AT&T.

From the RFP

[P]roposals will be considered by the State of Missouri when the Governor of the State of Missouri makes the decision to opt-in or opt-out of the federal government’s FirstNet deployment plans.  In the event the Governor decides to opt-out of the FirstNet deployment plans to proceed with establishing a Missouri PSB-RAN, the State of Missouri would need to obtain approvals from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and possibly other entities to proceed. In the event required approvals were not obtained or if the Governor decides to opt-in to the FirstNet deployment plans, a contract would not be awarded by the State of Missouri as a result of this Request for Proposal (RFP)… The successful contractor will assist in supplementing and supporting the efforts of current staff of the Missouri DPS, as well as the Missouri Statewide Interoperability Network (MOSWIN), in the State of Missouri’s partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to implement the state’s PSB-RAN within the NPSBN…

Originally in July 24 MOScout.