Preliminary analysis that the program has begun, to determine demand in clusters of rural communities, shows that some clusters lack services with high levels of Broadband capacity and sufficient competition. This indicates that investments may not be being made to deliver sufficient wholesale back haul capacity to those communities needed to drive broader availability of services.
The program is working closely with the State Procurement Office (SPO) to create much greater flexibility in the State’s telecommunication and Broadband Services RFP. It is hoped that these changes will:
- Encouraging a significant increase in rural back haul investment by allowing regional providers the opportunity to quote for services under the contract
- Increasing allowed contract durations so that investments in new Broadband infrastructure can produce reasonable returns on investments for providers
- Encourage the creation of geographic buying consortia to create a substantial number of anchored tenants for Broadband services delivered across newly built Broadband infrastructure
- Allow existing Broadband providers to expand into new territories and/or the provision of new service products and technologies
- Standardize quotes by providers for all quoted services using industry standard service descriptions such that comparing quotes is simplified
- Bring more schools and districts into buy consortia utilizing the state contract because the contract now synchronizes terms and time frames with eRate requirements.