The City of Benicia is taking another try at priming the pump for upgraded industrial and commercial class broadband infrastructure and service. A request for proposals was posted this week, backed by up to $750,000 of city money. The objectives include…
- Specific service proposals for the Benicia Industrial Park and the adjacent Arsenal area, which, among other things, is being developed as a home for high tech start-ups.
- Generally, improving availability of high quality managed services and unbundled network elements, such as dark fiber, throughout the City.
- Options for meeting the connectivity needs of the City’s internal IT network.
- Free public WiFi access, particularly in commercial and industrial areas.
- A more competitive market for broadband service in Benicia.
The City isn’t necessarily looking for a single provider that can achieve all of its objectives and is leaving the door open to working with two or more companies, if that seems to be the better course. The RFP is designed to encourage responses from as many qualified companies as possible – a maximum length of 10 pages is specified for the proposal, not counting any back-up material that might be included in an appendix, although additional information may be requested during the evaluation process.
There’s no particular business or partnership model specified, although the City took care to highlight, in bold letters, that “its preference is for a model that minimizes the City’s ongoing role in the project while ensuring that sufficient public benefits are generated by its investment, including, particularly, achievement of its economic development goals“.
An earlier RFP, issued in 2013, was focused on just the Benicia Industrial Park and Arsenal area. More information about it, including the research reports that backed it up, can be found here. The 2013 RFP resulted in an agreement with Lit San Leandro to build a network, but changes at the company took it in a different direction and a contract was never executed.
The deadline for proposals is 22 September 2017, with any written questions due by 8 September 2017.
Full disclosure: I’m a consultant to the City of Benicia and assisted with preparation of the RFP. I’m not a neutral commentator; take it for what it’s worth.