FirstNet Delays Draft RFP
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 | Comments

By Kristen Beckman
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board delayed a vote on the draft request for proposals (RFP). The delay was announced during committee presentations Tuesday and confirmed Wednesday during the board meeting.

Following a closed session during an open meeting that included presentations from FirstNet committees Tuesday, Tim Bryan, chairman of the finance committee, announced the delay. He said the closed meeting included discussions about acquisition strategy, proposed partners, structural mechanisms and other topics.

“The bottom line is we as a committee have come to agreement on a lot of what we discussed today, but there are a few things that we want a little bit more information on.”

Bryan said several outstanding questions will be addressed "over the next few weeks" before the board would reconvene to vote on the draft RFP. He did not specify a date when a vote is expected.

“That is where we ended up as a committee,” said Bryan. “We are willing to take those few weeks to be able to go over those last few points.”

During Wednesday's board meeting, following another closed session, FirstNet Chairwoman Sue Swenson confirmed that the vote on the draft RFP would be delayed.

"We want to make sure that we set this up correctly right at the front end of this. This is not something that you can put out there and hope that it works," she said. "You want to be absolutely correct in terms of how you frame this up.

"So to that end, we anticipate, as a board, working with management over the next several weeks. We will work on a few items that we think we need to spend a bit more time on before we actually approve management to go forward with release of the notice for the draft RFP documents," continued Swenson. "Look for us to actually get back together in the very near future. We anticipate that it will happen, based on the discussions over the last couple of days, and we look forward to actually coming to this conclusion and moving forward as we anticipated."

During testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee March 11, Swenson highlighted the importance of the draft RFP to other pending FirstNet issues, including rural coverage, funding and financial viability, cybersecurity and capitalizing on FirstNet’s spectrum. At that time, Swenson said a draft RFP would be public by the end of this month and a final RFP is expected by the end of this year.

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