Judge’s Decision Offers Insights into FirstNet's Contract Award Process
AT&T Wins FirstNet Nationwide Public-Safety LTE Contract
Although the contract winner was not formally announced during the meeting, AT&T is highly anticipated to win the contract award. AT&T is the only publicly announced bidder still in the competitive range for the contract.
Prior to the March 28 special meeting, the FirstNet board, in accordance with FirstNet’s enabling statute, completed its review of the acquisition approach and the request for proposals (RFP) process to identify a partner to build, operate and maintain the network. FirstNet will coordinate with the Department of Interior (DoI) to finalize the contract.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims released a judgment denying Rivada Mercury’s motion and granting the government and AT&T’s cross motions for judgment. Rivada Mercury had filed a pre-award protest of the contract after being excluded from the competitive range.
FirstNet Chief Counsel Jason Karp summarized the evaluation and legal actions by explaining that the evaluation team evaluated the proposals along business, technical and financial lines. As part of the evaluations, the team was allowed to down select, called a competitive range, and keep only keep those proposals that were highly rated.
“Rivada Mercury was eliminated so the company filed a pre-award protest,” Karp said. “After a full deliberation on the merits, the court found that the government had acted reasonably and appropriately in all aspects. It clears the last hurdle for this board and FirstNet to move forward. There are no longer any legal impediments in that regard. It is really a positive outcome across the board.”
Details surrounding the case were not available because the case was sealed under a protection order intended to protect proprietary and other sensitive information in the case.
After providing an update on the litigation and passing the resolution, congratulations, thank-yous and reminiscing filled the rest of the hour-long teleconference meeting.
“This is a very special day,” said FirstNet Chairwoman Sue Swenson. “It marks the completion of a significant milestone on our road map. This represents a lot of work by a lot of people.”
Harlin McEwen, chair of the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), was specifically acknowledged for his service and dedication to the NPSBN.
“I want to thank the board for this important decision today, which is a critical step in finalizing the network procurement,” said Poth. “Upon award, FirstNet will immediately start work on delivering this network to public safety and fulfilling our promise to them.”