According to the RFP, the chosen vendor in Vermont would have to provide the state with financial assurance in one of two ways:

“(1) A performance bond issued by a surety company acceptable to the State, and authorized to do business in Vermont, up to 15%)of the cost to build and maintain the network for a 25-year period as accepted by the State. The performance bond shall be in a form prescribed by the State and shall guarantee the selected Bidder’s contract performance and provide for the State’s liability, loss, damage or expense as a result of the Contractor's failure to perform fully and completely.

“(2) An irrevocable letter of credit, issued by a commercial bank acceptable to the State and authorized to do business in Vermont, in an amount equal to the cost to build and maintain the network for a 10-year period and thereafter for each renewal period, if exercised (to be obtained two years prior to the expiration of the current period), to the State as beneficiary, in order to allay the short-term cost and expense of transitioning to the surety or subsequent Contractor in the event the selected Bidder is unable to fulfill its Contract obligations, requiring the State to exercise the performance bond.”

Under the law that established FirstNet, governors in all 56 states and territories have the choice of making an “opt-in” decision—accepting the FirstNet deployment plan and allowing AT&T to build the LTE radio access network (RAN) within the state’s borders at no cost to the state—or pursuing the “opt-out” alternative, which would require the state to be responsible for building and maintaining the RAN for the next 25 years.

AT&T will build the FirstNet RAN in “opt-in” states or territories at no cost to each jurisdiction, but local public-safety entities will be responsible for paying subscription costs and end-user device expenses. However, the law that established FirstNet stipulates that individual public-safety agencies and potential first-responder users are not required to subscribe to the FirstNet service.

In addition to Georgia, Mississippi and Vermont, 10 other states have issued RFP without having their governors announce an “opt-in/opt-out” decision to date: Alabama, Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Of these, New Hampshire is only state to announce the winner of its procurement—Rivada Networks.

Two other states—Michigan and Arizona—issued RFPs for alternative RAN vendors, but their governors already have announced “opt-in” decisions.