FirstNet received more than 400 questions about its request for proposal (RFP) that was released last month and plans to begin publishing answers “within the week,” according to a FirstNet spokesperson.

Interested parties were asked to submit questions by last Friday about the FirstNet RFP, which outlines the procurement process associated with the deployment and operation of the proposed nationwide public-safety broadband network.

“We are pleased with the questions received and the interest shown in the RFP from industry and public safety,” according to an e-mail statement from a FirstNet spokesperson. “The RFP was crafted in an open, transparent, and inclusive process, which included a draft RFP with Q&A, vendor outreach meetings, industry days, consultation meetings with states and territories and more. We believe we’ve done a thorough job at answering questions throughout and look forward to answering the submitted questions using the same transparent process.”

FirstNet’s answers to the questions will be posted at the FedBizOpps.gov website, where the RFP also can be found.

When FirstNet released its draft RFP last year, answers to questions were published in groups, with a new group of questions being posted each week. FirstNet again plans to answer RFP questions in “batches,” according to the spokesperson.

In addition to this question-and-answer proceeding, interested parties can get further clarification about the RFP during FirstNet pre-proposal conference that is scheduled to begin at 1:30 EST on March 10 in Reston, Va. Bidding teams will be asked to submit capabilities statements on March 17, and final proposals are due on April 29.

FirstNet hopes to sign a 25-year deal with the selected contractor by Nov. 1, but that timetable could be delayed if a large number of bids need to be evaluated, according to FirstNet officials. An unofficial summary of key dates in the FirstNet process is available here.

Under the terms outlined in the FirstNet RFP, FirstNet will provide the winning contractor with $6.5 billion and access to 20 MHz of Band 14 broadband spectrum in the 700 MHz band. The contractor is required to build a wireless broadband network to meet public-safety needs—public safety’s preemptive and priority access to the network’s bandwidth is required—but the contractor also can generate revenue by selling services to commercial users that would access the system on a secondary basis.