On January 13, 2016, the First Responder Network Authority  (FirstNet) released its eagerly awaited Request for Proposal (RFP) for a single interoperable Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network  (NPSBN). FirstNet’s Board of Directors approved the release of the RFP at a meeting in December 2015.

Created by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, FirstNet will use nationwide 700 MHz spectrum to “build, operate  and maintain the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety” with the aim of providing “a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications.” In creating FirstNet, Congress established for the first time in history “an independent government authority with a mandate to provide specialized communication services for public safety.” Congress also provided FirstNet with up to US$7 billion in funding for the network. Housed in the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, FirstNet is expected to address many of the interoperability and communications challenges for first-responders and other emergency personnel, while also providing cutting-edge communication tools to help them fulfill their duties.

The RFP seeks proposals for a comprehensive network solution that covers each of the 56 states and territories. The offeror will need

to provide FirstNet with services, including the deployment and provisioning of a nationwide core network and radio access network services, as well as backhaul, aggregation, the use of national transport networks and operation centers, device and applications ecosystems, network services, and the use of network infrastructure and operational and business support systems. The required services also include “the integration, maintenance, operational services,

and ongoing evolution of these systems required to function fully as an operational wireless 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards-based Long Term Evolution (LTE) NPSBN.” The FirstNet contract will be a “single award Indefinite-Delivery-Indefinite- Quantity with fixed price payments to FirstNet by the Contractor for each of the 56 states and territories resulting from this solicitation.”  It is expected that teams of contractors and sub-contractors, including wireless providers, system integrators, engineers, program managers, tower companies, and others, will form to bid on this opportunity. The RFP describes the evaluation factors for awarding the contract. The RFP documents can be accessed here.

FirstNet has established several deadlines in Section L of the RFP. Questions and requests for RFP clarification are due by 1 p.m. Eastern on February 12, 2016. Capability statements demonstrating that an interested party is capable of performing the work are due by 2 p.m. Eastern on March 17, 2016. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. Eastern on April 29, 2016.