Governors for Washington and Oregon said they will jointly issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for potential alternatives to FirstNet, the broadband public safety communications network being built by AT&T. They plan to release the RFP this Friday, with bids due on November 13.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wrote in a letter to the Washington Statewide Interoperability Committee, the RFP would explore available options, stating a “regional solution with our partners in Oregon” should be looked at, reported Urgent Communications. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown echoed his thoughts. Those who answer the RFPs would submit proposals that cover both states.
So far, Washington and Oregon would be the 14th and 15th states seeking alternative Radio Access Network vendors, according to Urgent Communications. Those states that have issued RFPs but not yet made the opt-in/opt-out decision are: Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin. As of last week, 23 states and two U.S. territories have opted-in to FirstNet.
Both Inslee and Brown stressed no final decision has been made about first responder networks in their states, describing the RFPs as “due diligence.” Governors must decide whether to opt-in to FirstNet or opt-out by December 28, Inside Towers reported. Those that opt-in to the FirstNet/AT&T deployment in their state would have everything paid for while those that choose alternative RANs must ensure interoperability with FirstNet, and pay for constructing and maintaining them for 25 years.