Expansion of Broadband Service

Agency: State Government of Virginia
State: Virginia
Type of Government: State & Local
Posted Date: Mar 29, 2020
Due Date: Apr 16, 2020
Solicitation No: RFI # 2020-04163-92-1
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RFI # 2020-04163-92-1
  • Expansion of Broadband Service
  • Status: Open
  • Time Left:17 days
  • Closing: 4/16/20 3:00 PM
  • Issued: 3/27/20 6:05 PM
  • Last Amended:
  • Buyer:Sharon Cash
  • scash2@albemarle.org
  • 434-296-5854

  • Issued By:Albemarle County
  • Type:Request for Information (RFI)
  • Category:Non-Professional Services - Technology
  • Work Location: Various Locations Albemarle County, Virginia
  • Web Address:http://www.albemarle.org/department.asp?department=purchasing&relpage=15714
  • Pre-Bid Conference:
  • Open Responses:
  • Description:The Albemarle Broadband Authority (“ABBA”) is requesting information from qualified private internet service providers (“ISPs”) to provide input, ideas, and recommendation to support the procurement and implementation of a program to expand or construct, deploy, maintain, own and operate a “fee-for-service” broadband network to provide Internet Service to subsets of the approximately 3,700 unserved and underserved homes and businesses throughout Albemarle County (the County). ABBA's intent, if any subsequent Request for Proposal (RFP) is produced as a result of feedback from this Request for Information (RFI), is to subsidize one or more Internet Service Provider (ISP)s’ deployment of Internet Service to serve those populations, to ensure that internet connectivity is available for residents and visitors, to facilitate economic growth, education, healthcare, and public safety.

Attachments
Attachment Size Description Posted On Type
RFI 2020-04163-92 Expansion of Broadband Service.pdf (2.41 MB) RFI 2020-04163-92 Expansion of Broadband Service.pdf 03/27/20 Solicitation

Attachment Preview

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
ALBEMARLE COUNTY
BROADBAND AUTHORITY
I. PURPOSE
RFI# 2020-04163-92
The Albemarle Broadband Authority (“ABBA”) is requesting information from qualified private
internet service providers (“ISPs”) to provide input, ideas, and recommendation to support the
procurement and implementation of a program to expand or construct, deploy, maintain, own and
operate a “fee-for-service” broadband network to provide Internet Service to subsets of the
approximately 3,700 unserved and underserved homes and businesses throughout Albemarle County
(the County). ABBA’s intent, if any subsequent Request for Proposal (RFP) is produced as a result
of feedback from this Request for Information (RFI), is to subsidize one or more Internet Service
Provider (ISP)s’ deployment of Internet Service to serve those populations, to ensure that internet
connectivity is available for residents and visitors, to facilitate economic growth, education,
healthcare, and public safety.
II. BACKGROUND
The Albemarle Broad Authority (ABBA) was formed by the Board of Supervisors in August of 2017.
The goal of ABBA is to extend affordable broadband internet service access to every customer in
Albemarle County. Albemarle County, located in Central Virginia, comprises approximately 726
square miles and has approximately 108,000 residents. Albemarle County Local Government and
Albemarle County Public Schools actively employ approximately 4,000 full time and part-time
personnel providing a broad range of services to businesses and residents. The local government
under the Code of Virginia is governed by a Board of Supervisors, which is elected by the qualified
voters. The Board of Supervisors of Albemarle County is composed of six members, one from each
magisterial district, which oversees the efforts of the local government staff headed by the Office of
the County Executive.
III. REQUESTED INFORMATION:
ABBA wants to ensure that internet connectivity is available for residents and visitors, to facilitate
economic growth, education, healthcare and public safety, while acknowledging their leadership role
in expanding access and improving utilization. In an effort to provide Internet Service to unserved
and underserved areas throughout the County, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and
ABBA are exploring methods to provide Internet access for residents who lack access to broadband
at the FCC-defined speed of 25 Mbps download and 3Mbps upload. The County recognizes the
challenges of deploying broadband in rural areas and should any RFP be produced as a result of
feedback from this RFI, the County would like to explore the feasibility of subsidizing one or more
ISP’s deployment of Internet service to the underserved and unserved areas. This RFI seeks to obtain
information for the requirements for services related to a Broadband Public/Private Partnership.
A potential RFP would be based on the following assumptions:
1. ABBA retains decision authority over the selection of one or more private ISPs and the
location of any new infrastructure to support the deployment of or expansion of a broadband
network in Albemarle County.
2. ABBA will not own or operate the network. ABBA’s role is intended to facilitate the creation
RFI 2020-04163-92
Page 1 of 7
of the network and to ensure that awarded projects meet deadlines and agreed-upon
broadband speeds and quality levels.
3. ABBA is seeking methods both common and unique to extend existing service areas or create
new services. Ideas such as going beyond the status quo service model and offering internet
service to new customers not on a current providers’ “radar”; extending new wireless service
through approved construction of infrastructure; leveraging ABBA funds as release
contingent on award from federal and state grants; ISPs teaming for access to the funds; ideas
accelerating plans to deploy service such that the essential service of broadband is available
to all Albemarle residents.
4. Should any RFP result from this RFI, it would be anticipated that a leveraged match, based
on ABBA’s proposed spending of approximately $800,000 on one or more projects, based
on one, or a combination of the following options:
a. Leveraged funds direct to a project;
b. Leveraged funds in assistance to an application for ReConnect funds;
c. Leveraged funds in assistance to an application for Rural Digital Opportunity funds;
d. Leveraged funds in assistance to an application for Virginia Telecommunication
Initiative (VATI) funds.
5. Respondents may recommend an approach using only one of the options or a combination of
any number of them.
6. This information phase in intended to assess the selected ISPs’ capabilities, current service
offerings and pricing plans, financials, and buildout capacity of the proposed broadband
network expansion.
7. If ABBA decides to move forward with an RFP, that process will include negotiations to
refine the detailed deployment plan based on available funding (private and public) and
funding opportunities. If a contract results from the RFP, the project would move to the
Deployment Phase.
IV. DESIRED OUTCOME:
A. Overview of Scope of Service provided by ISP
The ISP is to provide, at a minimum, the following services:
1. A seamless and reliable broadband access that does not impose less than 500 GB monthly caps
on a user’s total upload and download data capacity or restrict usage when a cap of less than
500 GB monthly usage is reached.
2. Research and prepare all necessary FCC related forms and submittals required to provide
services.
3. Procurement of any permits required for the distribution of Internet content or FCC licensing.
4. Design, implement, operate and maintain the broadband network.
5. Provide a household-level coverage map showing predicted coverage and number of
households estimated to be served.
6. Provide marketing, sales, customer billing and account billing and collections.
7. Perform a post-construction verification of connection coverage, speed, and quality.
RFI 2020-04163-92
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B. Overview of Scope of Services/Assets provided by County
The County and ABBA plan the following actions to facilitate in the deployment of a solution:
1. A portion of funding for procurement and construction of infrastructure.
2. Support and assistance in permitting and navigation of other County processes.
3. Support in negotiating access to bandwidth and/or vertical assets of existing infrastructure.
4. Where possible, access to County facilities for mounting wireless infrastructure and hosting
equipment.
5. Promotion of digital literacy training to increase adoption rates.
6. Public meetings within each magisterial district to solicit committed demand, awareness and
education of the broadband expansion initiative and offered services.
7. Assistance in any Grant activities as needed.
C. ABBA Broadband
ABBA and Albemarle County continue to demonstrate success through partnership with ISPs. Many
partnership projects in the Southern area of the County have increased or are increasing citizen access
to broadband. In the process of the partnerships, several other areas of Albemarle County
unfortunately have not been included in the success.
ABBA understands the challenge of deploying broadband networks in rural areas that are sparsely
populated with mountainous terrain and is prepared to assist financially as budgeting allows. ABBA
desires a partner committed to providing service that meets future demand, leveraging whatever
technology is economical feasible. ABBA anticipates growth in demand as applications advance and
adoption increases.
D. Current Broadband Areas of Need
ABBA relaunched the Community Broadband Survey in February 2020,
https://www.albemarle.org/broadbandreport. The findings of the survey have identified areas within
the County where services are reported as less than or equal to 10 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload.
These areas are considered unserved, and likely eligible for funding opportunities.
Service areas beyond those on this map may be also be considered. The proposed service area must
be fully described by the ISP as unserved or underserved and documented by ISP supplied data.
RFI 2020-04163-92
Page 3 of 7
This map is for demonstration purposes only and not to scale. Example project areas are included in
pink shaded polygons. ISPs are encouraged to combine areas and submit new areas as warranted.
Note that there are no areas in the Southern section of Albemarle; this is due to the work
CenturyLink and CVEC are completing to serve multiple large unserved areas. The CenturyLink
projects are beginning to be scheduled with expected delivery of March 2021. The CVEC projects
have various delivery dates. Details of each section are included in the sample RFP as Exhibit 1B
Project Maps. The full ESRI map is available: https://arcg.is/1fS0zq0
RFI 2020-04163-92
Page 4 of 7
V. RFI SUBMISSIONS:
The Division requests that interested ISPs with expertise in the areas outlined in this RFI submit
information regarding creative ideas, recommended approaches, strategies, advice and the like. The
Division seeks input in any form deemed appropriate by the respondent, including but not limited to
white papers, lessons learned, etc.
Please include in your response, the following:
1. Does the definition of seamless reliable broadband access coincide with the ISPs
vision?
2. Should there be additional services listed?
3. Should the ABBA Scope of Services/Assets be adjusted in any way?
4. Does the ISP agree with the intent of the RFP, Attachment B Sample RFP, including
the phased approach to award?
VI. TIMELINE:
Responses to this RFI are due by Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 3:00pm. An electronic copy of
the proposal, in either Microsoft Word or PDF, is required. Responses and all communications
regarding this RFI should be submitted to:
Sharon Cash, Buyer II
Albemarle County Purchasing Office
401 McIntire Road, Room 248
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Scash2@albemarle.org
The County will hold two virtual interactive meetings, to review the structure of a potential RFP,
and to review the proposed project areas, and to answer questions.
Thursday April 9, 2020 from 3pm-4pm
Tuesday April 14, 2020 from 3pm-4pm.
Interest in attending either of the meetings should be emailed to Scash2@albemarle.org and
mculp@albemarle.org. Include the date of the meeting to be attended, and the email(s) to be
invited to the virtual meeting. An electronic invite will subsequently be sent with the conference
information/link.
VII. QUESTIONS:
Questions with regard to this RFI can be sent to the attention of: Sharon Cash: scash2@albemarle.org,
or at 434-296-5854 x 3135, Option 1.
VIII. DISCLAIMER:
Please be advised that this is a request for information only. This RFI is issued solely for
information and planning purposes – it does not constitute a request for proposal or a promise to
issue an RFP in the future.
In the event that sufficient information is received, the Division may, but is not required to, issue a
competitive solicitation. This RFI is not a competitive solicitation and no contract award shall
RFI 2020-04163-92
Page 5 of 7

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