REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS
This Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Feasibility Study is being issued by the town of Williamstown, Massachusetts in support of its strategic evaluation of the options for making broadband available to its residents and businesses. The town of Williamstown is located in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, bordering on the states of New York and Vermont. The residents of the town currently receive internet services primarily through Charter Communications/Spectrum, formerly Time-Warner Cable. Through the Massachusetts Broadband Initiative, (MBI) fiber optic cable is present within the town at a small number of Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) and is used by institutions such as Williams College and The Clark Art Institute, but is not generally available to residents and businesses.
The town is undertaking a formal process to evaluate the options to make fiber optic broadband available to its residents and businesses. This evaluation process is in furtherance of an initiative for 2015-2016 by the Board of Selectmen to “undertake a conceptual analysis on costs, benefits and options for deciding whether town should pursue generally available broadband access.” Similarly, in 2015, the Selectmen formed an Economic Development Committee (EDC) to make recommendations to enhance the opportunities for economic development. One of the EDC recommendations in its December 2015 report is that the town “should continue to investigate the potential of broadband access to be a community asset for both residents and businesses, and to understand the project scope, costs, benefits and organizational options for such a project so that an informed decision can be made whether to pursue broadband access.” Most recently, in May 2017, Williamstown Town Meeting voted unanimously to authorize “a study of the feasibility of expansion of broadband service including market conditions, cost, operations and technical considerations”. This RFP is being issued in furtherance of these recommendations.
The information generated by the feasibility study will be used by the town in making its strategic decisions on broadband access and seeking approval for funding any projects in the future, including for the design and construction of the proposed alternative. Responding to this RFP is not a prerequisite for participation in any future solicitation process.
Williamstown’s population consists of approximately 7,599 persons, per the 2013 US Census update, of which about 2,000 are students at Williams College. Town records indicate that there are approximately 2,500 dwelling premises. Households and businesses are predominantly located in the town’s ‘core’ area. Cable access currently is provided almost entirely by telephone poles and the town has minimal underground electrical utilities. The town has about 53 miles of town roads and 16 miles of state roads, and a small number of unaccepted roads. Detailed GIS maps of Williamstown are available at http://www.axisgis.com/williamstownma/.
Set out below is the schedule for actions under this RFP:
Release of RFP July 27, 2017
Written questions due to Williamstown August 11, 2017, 4:00pm
Williamstown’s responses to questions August 18, 2017
RFP Responses due to Williamstown September 6, 2017, 4:00pm
Questions and responses to the RFP should be submitted electronically to:
Town of Williamstown – Broadband RFP
The study should provide an overview of current broadband providers’ services, pricing strategies and coverage area. Based on this overview, the study should conduct a market analysis to establish a likely market penetration rate for a fiber system and clarify which benefits from a new fiber network might be most important to the residents and businesses. The study should measure community interest in subscribing to a fiber system and estimate the ‘take rate’ of how many subscribers are necessary to ensure the financial viability of the system, and what a associated consumer fees would be necessary to sustain the system. Proposals should discuss what approach is proposed to accomplish this task, such as:
Responses to this RFP should include in their proposals:
V. Evaluation Criteria and Selection
The Town will evaluate all proposals using the following criteria to conduct a best value evaluation:
Selection of the consultant for this project will be based on the criteria noted above. After evaluating all proposals, the Town may choose to interview the top candidates. Upon selection, the Town will enter into negotiations with the selected consultant to develop a Professional Services Agreement and finalize the work plan including budget hours. Should the Town and the selected consultant fail to satisfactorily reach agreement to the work plan, including budget, the Town may enter into negotiations with the respondent judged second in the evaluation process, or may re-advertise for proposals.