Wisconsin next week plans to become the latest state to issue a request for proposals (RFP) seeking bids from vendors willing to build and maintain a statewide public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN), if the governor decides to pursue the FirstNet ‘opt-out’ alternative later this month.

Wisconsin will release the RFP next Friday, May 19, and bids will be due on July 9, according to a draft RFP issued by the state on April 27. Responses to the draft RFP were due today, and feedback from that proceeding could be included in the May 19 final RFP, according to information on the state’s procurement website.

Vendors bidding on the Wisconsin RFP should be prepared to “assume a majority of the risks” associated with an opt-out RAN deployment and should not expect state funding to support the network, according to the draft RFP.

“The State of Wisconsin requires the Proposer’s business to be self-sustainable,” the draft RFP states. “The State does not intend to fund any portion of the system’s operations, with the exception of the fees charged by the Proposer from state agency usage.”

Under the law that created FirstNet, each governor will receive a state plan from FirstNet that details how the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) would be deployed within the state or territory. Upon receiving the final state plan—something that is expected to happen in the fall—the governor will have 90 days to decide whether to accept the FirstNet state plan or purse the “opt-out” alternative.

By accepting the state plan, the public-safety broadband system would be built and maintained by FirstNet and AT&T at no cost to the state. By pursuing the “opt-out” scenario, the governor would obligate the state to meet a set of aggressive timelines in an attempt to build and maintain the public-safety RAN within the state or territory while maintaining interoperability with the nationwide FirstNet system.

Wisconsin would be the sixth state to issue an RFP to address this possibility. All have stated that their governors have not decided whether to pursue the “opt-out” alternative.

New Hampshire has completed its RFP procurement and selected Rivada Networks as its vendor, although officials have stressed that no opt-out decision has been made. Alabama and Arizona both received three bids in response to their RFPs, while Colorado officials this week announced that two bidders responded to the state’s public-safety LTE procurement. Michigan issued an RFP.

To date, New Hampshire is the only state has made a vendor selection as a result of its procurement, according to numerous state and industry sources.