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Michigan is the Fourth State to Issue RFP to 'Opt-Out' of FirstNet Plan

The state has clarified that although it has issued the RFP, that does not mean it has already decided to “opt out” of FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety network.

Since last year, a handful of states have released RFPs in the interest of procuring their own public-safety long-term evolution (LTE) networks. Alabama and Arizona are still in the beginning stages, and New Hampshire selected Rivada Networks as its vendor last year.

Last Wednesday, Michigan joined this small, but growing, list of states to issue an RFP and will begin seeking bids in order to sustain and further the public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN). The state has clarified that these actions do not signal a decision to “opt out” of FirstNet’s nationwide public safety broadband network. The governor will decide whether Michigan will choose an alternative to the FirstNet plan.

“The State has not made a decision to accept the proposal made by FirstNet for a NPSBN to serve public safety entities in Michigan,” according to the Michigan RFP. “Neither has the State chosen to opt-out of the FirstNet-offered RAN to serve its public-safety entities. It is the intent of this RFP to explore options available to the State that will that will be most responsive to the needs of public-safety entities and which will be sustainable over the coming 25-year period.”

As Brian Shepherd, Colorado’s single point of contact, told IWCE's Urgent Communications, the state could become the fifth state to issue this kind of RFP as early as next month.

“Our goal has always been to provide as comprehensive an analysis as possible when it comes to the opt-in/out decision,” Shepherd told the publication. “We believe, in order to accomplish this, we must have two fully vetted options, so we understand the pros and cons of each. This RFP will allow us to clearly understand what opting out would look like.”

The states’ plans will take place half a year after FirstNet chooses its nationwide partner and includes a 90-day grace period in which their respective governors must choose whether to opt out or go with FirstNet and its partner.