Request for Information for Comprehensive Network Solution(s)

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Request for Information 
                     
                  for  
                     
    Comprehensive Network Solution(s) 
                                         
                                September 17, 2014 




    This is an unofficial copy of the Request for Information for Comprehensive Network 
Solution(s).  The official version will be posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Website 
at www.fbo.gov.  Responses to this Request for Information shall be submitted electronically 
   in accordance with instructions posted on www.fbo.gov within 30 calendar days of the 
                    Federal Business Opportunities website official posting.
FirstNet Comprehensive Network Solution
Request for Information

A. PURPOSE 
 
This request for information ("RFI"),1 which incorporates a draft statement of objectives 
("SOO"), seeks input from interested parties regarding approaches to and objectives for 
establishing a nationwide interoperable public safety broadband network.  Responses to this 
RFI will be used by the First Responder Network Authority ("FirstNet") to better understand 
industry's capabilities, evaluate best procurement approach(es), and determine how to best 
leverage existing capabilities and best practices to meet public safety needs.   
 
B.  BACKGROUND 
 
In February 2012, Congress enacted the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 
(the "Act"), containing landmark provisions to create an interoperable, nationwide public safety 
broadband network ("NPSBN") for law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical service 
professionals and other public safety entities.  The Act outlined a governing framework for the 
deployment and operation of this network based on single, nationwide network architecture 
and the creation of the FirstNet, an independent authority within the National 
Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA").  FirstNet holds the single public 
safety wireless spectrum license for the NPSBN, and is charged with taking all actions necessary 
to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the network in consultation with federal, 
state, tribal and local public safety entities, the Director of the National Institute of Standards 
and Technology ("NIST"), the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC"), and a public safety 
advisory committee established under the Act.   
 
C.  PREVIOUS RFIs, VENDOR ENGAGEMENT AND MARKET RESEARCH 
 
This RFI is the latest request in a series of RFIs, and incorporates feedback received from prior 
solicitations, including:  
 
     a May 2013 RFI on devices; 
     July 2013 RFIs on network partners, radio access network, the core network, and other 
         items; and 
     a November 2013 RFI on applications platforms. 
          
Vendor engagements with a variety of interested parties have also been utilized to conduct 
market research.  FirstNet has engaged in an extensive effort to gather information through its 
significant ongoing outreach and consultation process, which has included a series of regional 
workshops, state single point of contact ("SPOC")2 calls, onsite public safety interactions, public 
safety advisory committee ("PSAC")3 meetings, and coincident with this RFI, a notice and 
comment process.  From these previous RFIs, vendor engagements, ongoing outreach, and 

1
   Unless otherwise defined in the text, capitalized terms have the meaning provided in Appendix A. 
2
   47 U.S.C. 1426(c)(2)(B). 
3
   47 U.S.C. 1425(a)(1). 

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FirstNet Comprehensive Network Solution
Request for Information

consultations FirstNet has and will continue to obtain critical information on market needs and 
vendor capabilities to better define its acquisition goals, strategy and objectives.    
      
B. ACQUISITION APPROACH 
 
Building on the above activities, FirstNet's acquisition strategy centers on maximizing the 
network's value to public safety while meeting its financial sustainability obligations under the 
Act.  FirstNet currently seeks to implement a performancebased acquisition strategy that will 
allow it to obtain comprehensive network solution(s) that will ensure the building, deployment 
and financially selfsustaining operation of the NPSBN.  In the spirit of this performancebased 
approach, FirstNet does not seek to dictate the specific solution provided by potential offerors 
or the manner in which parties may or may not seek to align themselves through partnerships, 
joint ventures, or other alliances in order to produce an offer in response to our solicitation.  
Rather, FirstNet has outlined program objectives that encourage innovative solutions to meet 
and exceed public safety's needs and FirstNet's statutory obligations.  In this regard, FirstNet 
encourages marketplace collaboration to ensure the best solution for public safety entities in all 
states, territories, and tribal lands.   
 
FirstNet's current approach is based upon the premise that FirstNet will seek proposals for a 
network solution or solutions allowing it to control and operate a nationwide Core network, 
Radio Access Networks in Optin States, as well as for devices, deployable capabilities, 
applications, integration, and maintenance and operational services required to fully function 
as an operational wireless standardsbased LTE network nationwide.  In addition, FirstNet seeks 
solutions that would include inkind or monetary value provided by offerors in consideration for 
secondary use of FirstNet's excess network capacity pursuant to Covered Leasing Agreements.  
FirstNet also seeks inkind or monetary value for innovative business solutions enabled by the 
NPSBN.  This acquisition may consider the services provided to public safety, the value provided 
for excess network capacity, time to market, and rural coverage, among other evaluation 
criteria. 
 
D.  INFORMATION REQUESTED 
 
Our draft SOO is attached as Appendix B.  The SOO includes, among other things, draft program 
objectives that will form a critical component of the RFP.  Through these objectives, FirstNet 
seeks to provide a performancebased framework through which interested parties may offer 
detailed proposals in response to the RFP.  To do this, FirstNet requests industry comments on 
the following: 
 
          all aspects of the draft SOO, including proposed changes to the draft program 
            objectives and recommendations for any new ones; and 
          answers to questions, provided in Section E below, which are related to the 
            acquisition approach and several of the SOO program objectives.
             

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FirstNet Comprehensive Network Solution
Request for Information


E.  QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE ACQUISITION APPROACH AND CERTAIN PROGRAM    
OBJECTIVES 
 
ACQUISITION APPROACH 
 
          FirstNet is weighing the speed of deployment, services, functionality, cost, and 
          implementation and operational risks and benefits of seeking proposals for a 
          nationwide comprehensive solution versus more disaggregated network solutions.  
          Factors we are considering include: 
                a. the economies of scale and scope, including the synergy value and speed of 
                    deployment associated with leveraging existing commercial mobile 
                    provider infrastructure; 
                b. the value of leasing excess network capacity on a national scale or on a 
                    market or statebystate basis, and combining such leasing with the 
                    contract for buildingout and operating the network; 
                c. the tradeoffs between spectrum availability for public safety use and the 
                    value created (ultimately for public safety's benefit) through leasing excess 
                    network capacity to third parties; 
                d. the advantages and disadvantages, including with regard to execution risk 
                    and redundancy, of having a single party or several parties responsible for 
                    implementation and operation of the network (nationwide or by market); 
                e. the technical, operational, cost, and speed of deployment considerations 
                    related to integrating disparate RANs with multiple vendor technologies 
                    and varying standards compliance; 
                f. the technical, operational, cost, and temporal considerations related to 
                    contracting for, gaining access to, and using potentially thousands of public 
                    and private sites and other infrastructure with different owners, lessors, 
                    requirements, and equipment; 
                g. providing certainty to offerors in the procurement process in order to get 
                    the best price in light of the right of States to subsequently opt out of 
                    FirstNet RAN construction and operation; 
                h. the limits imposed by FirstNet Resources and Federal government hiring 
                    process, contracting, and operating rules and regulations;  
                i. the duration of FirstNet's spectrum license and legislated program lifespan 
                    pending Commission and Congressional action;  
                j. compliance with complex provisions of the Act; and 
                k. the effect of all of the above factors, among others, on the value FirstNet 
                    can bring to public safety entities. 
                     
          FirstNet seeks comment on the appropriate balancing of the above and other factors 
          related to our acquisition approach, including the following questions and those 
          further below regarding specific program objectives. In answering questions 14, 

                                                    3
FirstNet Comprehensive Network Solution
Request for Information

          below, please discuss how your company and/or your suggested solution would 
          address each of the factors in 1.ak above. 
           
       1. Should FirstNet (a) seek proposals for a comprehensive, nationwide solution, (b) act 
          as integrator and seek proposals for equipment and services to custom assemble a 
          nationwide network, or (c) something therebetween?  Please provide detailed 
          responses with the pros and cons of each. 
           
       2. At what stage(s) in the acquisition and deployment process should FirstNet consider 
          the economic desirability of leveraging each type of existing infrastructure as 
          required by the Act?  What will be the effect on deployment speed, implementation 
          risk, and cost of your recommended approach? 
 
BUILD, DEPLOY, OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THE NPSBN (refer to Program Objective 1) 
 
       3. Describe the feasibility of providing nationwide coverage (on a geographic basis) in 
          all States and territories to meet public safety coverage needs in light of limited 
          FirstNet Resources.  Discuss the costbenefit tradeoffs of providing the types of such 
          coverage (e.g., inbuilding, outdoor, satellitebased, local selforganized) across all 
          topologies (e.g., urban, suburban, rural, wilderness), including in terms of network 
          functionality and capacity, cost implications of implementation, population 
          coverage, and highincident or highrisk geography coverage.  Please include any 
          technical or architectural information required to answer this question, including 
          any regulatory hurdles that may impact this objective and recommendations 
          thereon.  
           
       4. Should FirstNet combine across all geographies the procurement of the Core, RAN, 
          and the leasing of excess spectrum capacity?  If not, what are the implications of 
          your alternative combinations in terms of implementation costs, deployment timing, 
          economies of scale and scope, and other risk factors?  How should the possibility of 
          Optout States be handled in your proposed process? 
           
FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY (refer to Program Objective 2) 
 
       5. Based on the tradeoffs discussed in response to question 4, how can FirstNet 
          minimize costs and expenditures to build, deploy, operate, and maintain (including 
          recapitalization) the NPSBN?  Describe any innovative business solutions and 
          revenue sharing structures you believe FirstNet should consider in order to 
          maximize the utilization and monetization of FirstNet assets. Please describe the 
          risks associated with your business solution suggestions as well as implementation 
          timelines. 
    



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