REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP)
BROADBAND IMPROVEMENT IMPLEMENTATION
Town of Sandwich, NH
December 27, 2019
The Town of Sandwich invites proposals to deliver reliable, unthrottled broadband-level Internet access to all homes, businesses and other locations within its borders that need it. The proposed system must include all currently unserved locations, defined as those that do not have access to at least 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload speeds (RSA 38:38, I(c)).
Sandwich is a small town in New Hampshire's Lakes Region. It covers some 100 square miles of hilly and forested terrain that includes part of picturesque Squam Lake and the southern edge of the White Mountain National Forest. The town has about 1,000 dwellings, nearly all single-family, along its approximately 100 miles of roadways. Its year-round population of 1,350 swells to about 5,000 in summer months. Sandwich is a community with above-average income and education levels located in a rural setting known for its natural beauty. Outreach by the Town’s Broadband Advisory Committee has found a keen and widespread desire among citizens for reliable, affordable broadband service.
The Town currently has very limited and uneven broadband access availability and speeds. The only such service in Sandwich is provided by the local telecom utility, which offers digital subscriber lines (DSL and VDSL). The company reports that about 13% of its customers can access speeds of 25/3 or more. There is no competing coaxial cable service in Sandwich, offering the prospect of high uptake for fast, reliable broadband service. Satellite and cellular data providers do not meet residents’ needs, since these models have significant download caps; once these limits are reached, data rates are throttled and drop far below the broadband standard.
BUSINESS MODEL AND GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS
The Town seeks proposals that would be the basis for one or more providers to deliver such services. We prefer a proposal that embodies a total solution, encompassing construction, financing and operations. The Town sees itself as a facilitator; it does not intend to install, operate, or own the system.
- Both wired and wireless technologies will be considered. We have tentatively identified optical fiber as a preferred solution, either entirely to subscribers’ premises or to a nearby node with final connection by wire, fiber or wireless means. We will also consider wireless alternatives that can meet the standard, including mesh networking.
- The Town will work with providers in siting equipment, placement of poles and conduit, and location of distribution equipment in Town rights-of-way.
- Proposals should include costs to provide service at the “street level” along state, town public and private roadways, and should also provide service options and pricing estimates for connection to final locations, including “off grid” locations.
- Proposals should include a comprehensive schedule of proposed monthly subscriber rates.
The Town may consider the use of municipal bonding authority to aid, facilitate or incentivize such a proposal, provided that the respondent assumes 100 percent responsibility for principal, interest and other costs of the bonds. The Town would need to retain ownership of the financed assets at least until bonds are retired.
All proposals must be submitted by 31 January 2020.
Once proposals are received, the Town’s Broadband Advisory Committee will review them and recommend a provider or providers to the Town’s Select Board, which will make a final decision. The Town may seek additional information and negotiate contract terms as the Town, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate. This process will be accomplished expeditiously, consistent with the requirements of due diligence and the time needed to negotiate contractual terms. The Town will expect prompt responses from the chosen respondent(s) to questions, requests for additional detail, and its negotiating positions.
Final approval and acceptance of any bonding-dependent proposal(s) will require a vote at Town Meeting, which occurs each year in March.
We are seeking to have a broadband system in operation as soon as possible, within no more than 12 to 24 months from finalizing terms with the chosen provider(s).
All proposals should include:
A letter of transmittal with the name, signature and title of the person authorized to commit the respondent to the proposal terms, along with five (1) hard copies of the proposal.
One electronic version of the proposal as an attachment in .pdf format.
- Description of the technology to be used and how it meets the Town’s requirements.
- Detailed project design.
- Explanation of the proposed business model, including installation, ownership, interconnection and maintenance of network hardware; ownership and operation of the ISP (Internet Service Provider) function; and provision of additional value-added services.
- If municipal bond financing is contemplated, the total cost to install to the street level for all of Sandwich.
- Approximate timeline for installation. This should include estimates for tasks that may or may not be fully under a provider's control, such as “make-ready” requirements or easements. Anticipated easements or approvals required from third parties should be itemized.
- If not included in the “Street level” cost above, any additional cost of installation from “street” to residence and how such costs will be met.
- Guarantees of service call response times.
- Comprehensive schedule of proposed monthly subscriber rates.
- A program to mitigate subscription costs for residents who would otherwise be unable to afford access.
- Buyout provisions of Town investment after bond retirement, if applicable.
- The respondent’s credentials, including examples of other systems it has built and managed, and contacts within those systems.
- Proposed insurance coverages.
Please send your proposal to:
Town of Sandwich, PO Box 194
Center Sandwich, NH 03227
Attn: Catherine Graham, Select Board Administrative Assistant
Send your electronic version to Catherine at [login to unmask email] or call her with any questions at (603) 284-7701.
The Town reserves the right to cancel this RFP at any time, reject any and all proposals, to waive any defect or informality in the proposals received and to accept the proposal deemed to be most favorable to the best interests of the Town, including, but not limited to, respondent qualifications, project cost, project size, schedule, and business model.
The Town is not obligated to select the lowest proposal, the lowest responsible proposal or follow any other predetermined criteria in selecting the successful respondent. The Town shall select the proposal which, after evaluation of the qualifications of the respondent and proposed design, business model, and schedule, is most advantageous to the Town.
All contractual terms and conditions will be subject to review by the Town of Sandwich's legal counsel including scope, budget, schedule, and other necessary items pertaining to the project. The town has the right to accept or refuse any or all proposals.
We will evaluate all proposals based on the criteria below. To ensure consideration, your proposal should include all of the following criteria:
- Overall suitability: Proposals must meet the scope and needs we have described herein and be presented in a clear and well-organized manner.
- Organizational Experience: Proposals will be evaluated on their experience in building systems comparable in scope to this project
- Track record: Organizations will be evaluated on examples of their work as well as input from previous clients.
- Value and cost: Organizations will be evaluated on the cost of their solutions, based on the work to be performed.
- Technical expertise and experience: Organizations should provide descriptions and documentation of staff technical expertise and experience.
Responding to this RFP does not obligate the Town or any other person associated with the Project to pay any costs incurred by proposals in preparing and submitting a proposal.
This solicitation does not obligate the Town or any other person associated with the project to accept or contract for any expressed or implied services.
Submission of a proposal shall be evidence that the respondent is familiar with all the conditions of this procurement. On finding any omissions or discrepancy in the proposal documents, the respondent shall notify the Town immediately so that any necessary addenda may be issued. Failure of the respondent to completely investigate the premises and/or to be thoroughly familiar with the contract documents shall in no way relieve the respondent from any obligation with respect to the proposal. Respondent is responsible for verifying all statements in this RFP with the proper authorities.
Proposals that are incomplete, contain any omissions, erasures, alterations, additions or irregularities may be rejected.
A respondent may withdraw or modify its proposal by written request at any time prior to the response deadline. Telephonic proposals, amendments or withdrawals will not be accepted. Unless otherwise specified, no proposal may be withdrawn for a period of ninety days from the response date. The Town may at its discretion waive this provision to allow for minor changes or corrections.