Colorado’s FirstNet Alternative RAN RFI Responses Due May 31
Friday, March 18, 2016 | Comments
The state of Colorado released its request for information (RFI) about a public-safety broadband network (PSBN). Responses are due May 31.

The state said some results from the RFI may be integrated into a formal solicitation developed for the procurement of a potential Colorado alternative radio access network (RAN) or opt-out implementation. Because the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) state plan for Colorado’s portion of the nationwide PSBN has not been provided yet, the state cannot and has not made any decision related to the opt-out provision of the Spectrum Act, the RFI said.

However, the state said given the time frames available, the process to investigate an alternative RAN plan will take significant time and effort, and planning must begin now for the governor and Colorado’s public-safety community to make a fully informed, educated decision.

“This RFI should be considered a first step in the process of developing two potentially viable solutions for Colorado’s implementation of the NPSBN that can be thoughtfully compared and reviewed,” the RFI said.

The RFI objectives include:

• Identifying compelling business models for deploying, operating and maintaining a PSBN in Colorado, as well as assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each potential business model

• Identifying a model that leverages all available resources to deploy a superior-quality RAN at minimum cost leveraging public sector and private assets (human and capital)

• Developing a nuanced business model that is viewed as an opportunity by existing commercial providers, rather than a competitive threat and encouraging the private sector to actively participate

• Identifying best practices, trends, innovations and products/services in the deployment and operation of a RAN

• Assessing the potential benefits of a high availability RAN to a broad range of government functions — education, public health, economic development and Internet of Things (IoT)

• Considering how to most effectively coordinate the deployment of a next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) network with the deployment of a PSBN RAN

The RFI includes Colorado’s goals for the project and offers three potential approaches. The document asks responders to discuss the most appealing approaches and models and provides specific questions.

Responses and information/material submitted must be nonproprietary and nonconfidential, the RFI said.

A separate RFI information pack provides entities with visibility into the Long Term Evolution (LTE) radio system planning underway in Colorado. The information includes details on the addressable market with usage and device data and radio system modeling with details on coverage with commercial and noncommercial sites.

“The focus of the RFI is to solicit feedback from the private sector on various business models or other synergies that could be utilized to develop a state-specific RAN implementation,” said Brian Shepherd, broadband program manager for the state of Colorado. “The information collected will help guide any future steps that may be taken. We believe it is crucial to provide the governor and all stakeholders with a comprehensive analysis of both the FirstNet-provided state plan as well as feasible alternative options when the time comes to make this critical decision for Colorado’s first responders.”

More information and the documents are available here.

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Sandra Wendelken is editor of MissionCritical Communications and RadioResource International magazines. Contact her at

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