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Developing an RFP

Gig.U: The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project has created a set of Generic Request for Proposals to aid communities in attracting next generation networks.

This Generic Request For Proposals Framework (RFP) is intended to be a template in planning investment of public and / or private funds in broadband projects. The guidance is directed at local governments—regional, county or municipal governing bodies—or other entities that might serve as anchor tenants in those communities such as research universities or hospitals. This framework should be a guide for communities generating a Request for Proposals that to accelerate the deployment of next generation networks and services.

Due to the complexity and unique circumstances of each potential project, this Framework is not designed to be rigid or overly prescriptive, but is designed to give each community the option to choose its own path. The investment and project models presented in this Framework represent a range of options for combining public and private investment and a range of options of level of involvement by the Requesting Entity (RE). The models also offer options for the way networks will operate and the services they should offer.

What is expected of potential bidders to the RFP depends on the answers to the questions above. That is: will the RFP be for construction, operation and maintenance of a network or for a subset of those functions? This document outlines six approaches communities can take based on the answers to those questions:

Third Party: A service provider owns the network and provides retail and wholesale services.Public-Private Partnership (P3): A model where the RE desires a next generation network but may not build, own or operate the network outright. Public-private partnerships take many forms, depending on community preference and the legal framework in which the municipality operates. These models are common in Europe and have begun to be built in the United States as well.

There are two flavors:

P3 Open: A model where the wholesale network is owned by a public-private entity and operates as an open-access, wholesale network, and

P3 Not Open: A model where parts of the network are not owned by a single public or private entity.

The wholesale network is not necessarily open and the network operator does provide retail services. Wholesale (W): A model where network ownership is separated from service delivery. There are several variations of this model that depend upon who owns which parts of the infrastructure:

W(i): A private service provider builds, operates and owns a wholesale network,
W(ii): A public entity owns part of the infrastructure, or
W(iii): A public entity completely owns the network infrastructure.

Download the Request for Proposals Templates In many sections of the template, the language is the same for all entities, but the full document is presented for ease of use. Each template begins with an explanation of the network operating model, followed by a description of the services being requested and administrative issues. In addition, throughout the template, there are sections that are highlighted. Each of these highlighted sections denoting a place where the Requesting Entity must either fill in factual or contextual information or make a decision based on the preferences of their community. In most cases Gig.U has provided language that will serve as a starting point, but did not provide specific language for every alternative.