North Carolina yesterday released a request for proposals (RFP) seeking vendors willing to build and maintain a public-safety LTE network in the state, if the North Carolina governor decides to pursue the “opt-out” alternative to accepting FirstNet’s deployment plan for the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN).

Bidders wanting to build a North Carolina Public Safety Broadband Network (NCPSBN) will have three weeks to prepare their proposals, which are due on Aug. 31, according to the North Carolina RFP. State officials plan to award a contract on Oct. 15, the procurement document states.

Vendors should not include any state money in their business plans, according to the RFP.

“No funds have been appropriated by the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) to enter an agreement with a supplier of goods and services described in this RFP,” the RFP states. “The NCPSBN will need to be financially self-sustaining for the anticipated lifespan of the network.

“Vendors should provide a financial model outlining the 25-year partnership with the State that demonstrates the sustainability of the NCPSBN and explains how their offer will provide the coverage, capacity, network connectivity, QoS [quality of service], and other objectives within the scope of services described in this RFP while remaining self-sufficient through the monetization of excess Band 14 capacity within North Carolina and other revenue sources.”

While most states that have issued an RFP limit a potential deal to 25 years—the term of FirstNet’s nationwide contract with AT&T—the North Carolina RFP stipulates that an alternative RAN agreement would include language that would ensure that the state “retains the option to extend the Agreement for two (2) additional twenty-five (25) year periods at its sole discretion.” If these options were exercised, the vendor would have a 75-year relationship with the state of North Carolina.

As in other U.S. states and territories, the governor for the state of North Carolina has the option of accepting the FirstNet state plan—an “opt-in” decision—or pursuing the “opt-out” alternative. Under the FirstNet state plan, AT&T—FirstNet’s nationwide contractor—would build, maintain and upgrade the RAN for North Carolina for the next 25 years. Under an “opt-out” scenario, the state would be responsible for contracting with a vendor to build, maintain and operate the RAN for the next 25 years.

FirstNet distributed its initial state plans on June 19 via online portals, with final state plans expected to be released in mid-September. When the final state plans are distributed, governors will have 90 days—with a deadline that is expected to be in December—to decide whether to accept the FirstNet state plan or begin the “opt-out” process.