FirstNet RFP Deadline for Proposals Closes, Award Planned for November
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 | Comments

The deadline for submitting proposals for the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) closed May 31. The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will begin the evaluation process of the request for proposals (RFP) with a goal of awarding a contract as soon as November.

FirstNet officials will not reveal how many proposals the organization received. FirstNet will follow federal procurement regulations for the RFP because “it sets an established, proven process for the conduct of complex procurements like this one,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth in a blog. “It also ensures that the proposal and evaluation process is fair and competitive and provides a level playing field for all potential offerors. The rules restrict our ability to publicly discuss source selection information during the evaluation phase. This applies to topics such as the number of proposals and who submitted them, among other things.”

The evaluation process is outlined in Section M of the RFP. The government will conduct an initial review of the proposals received to verify conformance and completeness of the instructions. The government will then review and evaluate each proposal to ensure it meets the pass/fail factors. Failure to pass any of these factors may result in a proposal being removed from further consideration.

FirstNet will then look at the minimum payment thresholds, and the proposals must demonstrate the ability to sustain the annual payments to FirstNet for the life of the contract. Proposals must also demonstrate commitment to exercise rural telecommunications provider partnerships for at least 15 percent of the total rural coverage nationwide.

“Contract award shall be made to the responsible offeror whose offer, in conforming to this RFP, provides the overall best value to the government, when all evaluation factors are considered,” Section M of the RFP said.

Evaluation factors are listed in descending order of importance: business management, coverage and capacity, products and architecture, offeror’s value proposition assessment and past performance. The exception is coverage and capacity and products and architecture, which are of equal importance to each other. Potential risk will also be assessed.

“The government intends to use unbiased and conflict-free outside contractors to assist in the evaluation of proposals,” Section M said. “These contractors will have access to any and all information contained in the offeror’s proposal and may participate in oral presentations and/or technical demonstrations if conducted, and will be subject to appropriate conflict of interest, standards of conduct and confidentiality restrictions.”

“I’d like to highlight the public-safety community for their partnership and honest feedback throughout the process,” Poth said. “They brought their A game at each step — particularly with the state consultation meetings and data collection effort — and this in turn enabled us to act as true stewards for public safety in designing an RFP to deploy their network.”

The full blog is here.

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