TCLP RFI Questions and Answers

Below are questions received and answered in no particular order.  Answers will be in Orange.


Updated Q&A Posted on: 6/23/2018

For Question 13 (Services), in addition to our response, we were going to include separate appendices that included sample marketing materials with channel guides/services as well as sample service level agreements.  Would this be considered separate from the two page limit since they are supplemental information or would you prefer that this information not be included in our submission?


Original Q&A Posted on: 6/13/2018

  1.  Appendix C: Response Form Outline: Do respondents need to provide their response directly into the Appendix C form or can respondents follow the format and provide their responses in a separate Word or PDF document?
  1. The forms should be used as they were given to keep responses equal in length and format.

  1. Section 3: Technical Capabilities: The page limit for this section is 3 pages.  Due to the amount of information that is requested, would you consider increasing the page limit to at least 4 or 5 pages? The eleven questions themselves take up 1.5 pages.  
  1. This RFI is seeking for a respondent that will work with TCLP to develop a full detailed plan after selection.  As such, TCLP is expecting answers to be short and high-level, concise, and to the point.  However, TCLP will allow four (4) page submissions on this section if needed.  Please focus on delivery and key phrasing to keep it simple and high level.

         

  1. Section 5: Operational Capabilities:  Similar question as above.  The page limit for this section is 3 pages.  Due to the substantial amount of information that is requested, would you consider increasing the page limit to at least 5 or 6 pages?  The fifteen questions themselves take up close to 2 pages.  
  1. This RFI is seeking for a respondent that will work with TCLP to develop a full detailed plan after selection.  As such, TCLP is expecting answers to be short and high-level, concise, and to the point.  However, TCLP will allow five (5) page submissions on this section if needed.  Please focus on delivery and key phrasing to keep it simple and high level.

  1. On page 2 of the RFI you reference the Appendix D as a phased approach.  What do the different colors represent on the map? 
  1. The colors currently represent a section of our electrical distribution system that the first phase FTTP project will follow
  1.  On page 6 of the RFI you reference the electrical system is 192 miles of distribution lines. In order to develop a schedule to build how much of that system is underground and how much is aerial?  Is it safe to say that the fiber build will follow the same footprint in how it is built?
  1. Those types of details will be given after a respondent is selected to help develop the phase one project in details.  This RFI is to mainly focus on respondents abilities to deliver an FTTP platform.  It is safe to say that the fiber will likely follow the same footprint as the electrical system.  This RFI is only focusing on phase one at this time.  On appendix D, the gold/orange color represents possible undergrounding while the red represents possible overhead.  This is only possible as a future FTTP design my change this layout based on site surveys.
  1. How many miles of the system make up the first phase of the build?  The other circuits will be built later, how many circuits are there and what are the sizes of each?
  1. This level of detail will be given after a respondent is selected.  A detailed engineering plan is not required at this time.  This RFI is to select a partner that will help develop that level of detail, along with pricing.
  1. Given that the construction season has limitations. Do you have a timeline in which the circuits will be built?  Example Phase One is year one and then the other circuits will follow over the following years?
  1. This RFI is only focusing on phase one at this time.  However, phase one would like to be completed sooner than later.  TCLP will work with respondent to develop a timeline together after a respondent is selected.  Having a dedicated crew that can work to fulfill this project within a year would be preferred.
  1. On page 14 of the RFI number 6 you ask to provide a proposed network diagram.  Can you provide more detail to what you are looking for?
  1. How would your company envision building out TCLP’s network to the house?  Would it have separate fiber layers (access, etc)? Where would the last mile drop be (cab, node, etc)?  Where would you put the NID?  A high-level diagram of how you would build out this network and serve the customers.  This does not need to get into detail (fiber cable type, switch manufacturers, etc).
  1. On page 15 response number 9 Schedule.  Can you provide us with the number of circuits and the size of each?  Can you include the breakdown of each circuit on how much is underground and how much is aerial?
  1. This project is only focusing on a phase one approach.  The later phases may come after execution, completion, and successful operation of phase one.  This type of detailed metrics for the phase one will be given upon successful selection of a respondent to this RFI.  On appendix D, the gold/orange color represents possible undergrounding while the red represents possible overhead.  This is only possible as a future fttp design my change this layout based on site surveys.
  1. Does Traverse City Light and Power have a location/building in mind to function as the point of signal generation?  If so where is that located in relation to the first phase of the build?
  1. 1131 hastings and 130 Hall Street
  1. Can you share what your existing fiber rings cover and what count fiber they are?
  1. TCLP owns and operates two fiber rings throughout the City and TCLP owns 84 count within the sheath.  However, there are a number of dark fiber customers on this fiber and the strand counts available will differ at different locations.  There is fiber running between 1131 Hastings and 130 Hall street.  Fiber maps for the phase one portion can be given if requested.
  1. In the Appendix A.  Can you elaborate more on the Strand Management item under outside plant?
  1. This is referencing to the individual strands themselves (splicing, etc) whereas fiber maintenance is referring to the actual cable (placement, etc).
  1. Of the approximately 12,500 residential and C&I customers, what they would expect the take rate to be based upon that number?
  1. We are initial projected a 20% take rate, but current studies show a higher return.  However, this project is not for all 12,500 customers, but only the phase one customers.  Please feel free to perform your own study to generate your take rate assumptions.
  1. Since most poles are likely owned by TCLP, what are the engineering requirements for proposed pole attachments?  Basically looking for the requirements of Engineering in a pole attachment agreement.
  1. TCLP will work with any respondent selected directly on this.  We will need more time to address this question and update this once complete.
  1. Who would pay for make ready?
  1. TCLP would ultimately pay for the make ready in a turn-key TCLP owned and operated network.  This also includes solutions where TCLP is contracting respondent to operate the network.  However, if a respondent is proposing a different solution, then we would need to evaluate this based upon the solution being pitched.
  1. Is there a more detailed Phase 1 map available than the one provided in the RFI?
  1. Yes, we have advanced GIS maps of the locations.  The intend of this RFI was to select a respondent to then develop the detailed engineering plans, along with all other aspects of the project.
  1. What other services are you looking to provide besides internet?
  1. We may look at re-leasing phones and television.  However, phase one will focus on internet but may evolve as the project is worked through.

  1. What portion or percentage of the total market area is encompassed and the estimated number of homes passed by the map in Appendix D?
  1. There are roughly 2000 homes passed in Appendix D.  Traverse City’s footprint is roughly 15,500 so this is roughly 13%.

  1. Is the longer term expectation that the selected partner(s) will “meet the region’s current connectivity needs, and that will anticipate potential future needs” mean the communities within TCLP utility footprint and/or surrounding regional communities?
  1. Within TCLP’s utility footprint.
  1. In your description of proposed business models and with respect to the Preferred Option, please explain your intention of “TCLP integration as time moves on.”  Are you requesting a partner exit strategy as part of the response to allow TCLP to operate and maintain the network?
  1. Yes, this is exactly what this is indicating.  TCLP, much like its electric business, may choose to completely operate the FTTP business independently at some point in the future.  However, for the phase one, a turnkey provider is desired.  This means that TCLP would like to contract with a company to engineer, build, and operate the entire phase one deployment, which would operate under TCLP’s Board umbrella (desired solution).  There would be recurring costs for TCLP to the selected respondent in terms of operations that can be re-evaluated on a timely (year-to-year) basis.  Therefore, any solution provided should allow for a partner exit strategy.
  1. Will you accept a long-term vision of integrating Smart technologies in to the response?
  1. Absolutely.  Please note that the focus will be on a phase one deployment only, but any visionary ideas should be included for evaluation.
  1. Will you provide a formal scoring process for responses?
  1. No.  There is not a formalized scoring process for this venture as solutions will not be apples to apples and weighting certain items would bias the scoring terms from the start.

Process related question:

  1. Will question from providers be shared?
  1. With the public? Under FOIA requests, yes.
  2. With all respondents? Yes.
  1. Will an NDA be available and signed to protect the information provided in the RFI process? NDA’s will not be given for this level of the RFI; therefore, please do not include priority information that you do not wish to share.  Once TCLP selects a partner, and we begin developing the project, if there is proprietary information in the solution at that time, then an NDA may be granted.
  2. We work with multiple partners on projects (collaborations):
  1. Are there any restrictions TCL&P has placed on our ability to share with our partners? Yes.  TCLP will only deal with one main entity responding to this RFI for the length of the partnership.  TCLP will not deal with partners or sub-contractors of the primary respondent if selected moving forward.

Question related to the Service area: (attached is a map of the TCL&P service region from your web site, additionally there is a copy of the appendix D provided)

  1. Key related (no key provided):
  1. What does the yellow or gold color represent (on the map)? Potential undergrounding
  2. What does the red color represent (on the map)? Potential overhead
  1. What is the anticipated number of locations to be serviced within the map provided?  Roughly 2000
  1. As we calculate the high level design and build requirements we will use this number to ensure we have selected to correct area.
  2. Is there a detailed list of addresses available for phase 1 project? This will be provided based on if you are selected to move forward.
  1. Can this detailed list be shared? Not at this time
  1. If yes please email in confidence to ---------------
  1. We will share this with our fiber design engineers for their analysis.
  1. Comparing the service area of TCL&P with the project 1 area map:
  1. How would you define the number of zones or phases that fit your service region?  As of now, the only focus is the phase one for the project defined in Appendix D.  Future zones will be decided upon a successful phase one project.
  1. Will you provide the number of zones? See answer above
  2. Will you provide an outline of these zones? See answer above
  1. If yes we can use this data to determine the timeline and increased cost associated with the phase approach. See answer above
  1. Are there major fiber termination points in the TCL&P service areas? Yes. However, this level of information should be used for detailed network designed and will be given to the successful respondent selected.
  1. Please identify
  1. Are there any legal restriction in utilizing the current TCL&P fiber infrastructure? Please clarify this?  What are you looking for?
  1. Will you provide copies of the fiber agreements in place that may limit or restrict usage? What are you looking for?  However, yes, we will go over this with the selected RFI respondent.
  1. What vendor and model (series) of equipment do you currently utilize with the current fiber infrastructure? This question, and sub-questions, will be identified and worked through upon a successful respondent selected.  TCLP would pose the same questions back to the respondent about what types of network and equipment the respondent will support and/or HAS supported.  The only question I would answer is that TCLP is potentially looking at a hybrid approach of AE and NGPON.  However, these final details will be worked out and decided upon with a selected respondent of this RFI process.
  1. Switches?
  2. Routers?
  3. What manufactures were used for the current fiber infrastructure?
  1. Example Corning, ….
  1. Do you utilize an Active Fiber approach?
  2. Do you utilize a Passive fiber approach?
  3. Or a hybrid approach?
  1. Will you provide a map of the current fiber routes?
  1. Based on the current fiber map that we anticipate reviewing:
  1. Will available strands be identified on the map? Different portions of the fiber have different levels of strand usage.  Therefore, a network design would need to be identified to clearly identify what is possible to utilize.  This can be covered after a selection has occurred.

Question related to construction considerations:

  1. Is TCL&P interested in an approach that would enable interconnecting neighboring communities?
  1. Such as Elk Rapids, Kalkaska, Beulah, and Suttons Bay This type of approach should be a visionary item and any respondent should include such items into their response.  However, for phase one, we are looking at the area identified in Appendix D before we would consider spreading into the surrounding region.
  1. Will you be providing access to the poles for attachment?
  1. If yes please provide the pole attachment agreement.  As this will be TCLP owned and operated (a respondent may operate the network under the umbrella of TCLP), this would not be necessary for the respondent as it would be a TCLP item.
  1. Do your easement agreements allow improvements associated with telecommunications or are they restricted to electrical services This would depend on each individual area and network layout in which can be identified after a selected respondent.
  1. Underground to the service location
  2. Above ground
  3. Pole attachment

(origination of questions - we have experienced issues with some GLE pole attachments)

  1. Will you provide copies of existing easement agreements for review and analysis?  Not for this RFI.  We are selecting a partner for this RFI.  This level of detail would be provided after TCLP selects a respondent for the project.
  1. Example of each version.

Questions related to Smart Meters or other systems that may need to be considered:

  1. We are in the final stages of acquiring a lease on 700mhz spectrum for 9 rural counties in Northern Michigan.  The urban county of Grand Traverse was not included in our 45 county project.
  1. Does TCL&P want information regarding the benefits of 700Mhz spectrum for the utility industry? Sure, this would be fine.
  1. We would include as a separate appendix.
  1. What application does TCL&P anticipate would benefit from utilizing the 700Mhz spectrum? We would need to evaluate your appendix and analyze prior to determining any potential uses.

Questions related to obtaining information regarding materials being provided to the project:

  1. Based on the following notice: Please be advised that TCLP received a FOIA request for any respondent that has submitted a letter of intent (LOI) for the FTTP Project.  As a local governmental municipality, TCLP is required to comply with this request and will be disclosing your LOI.
  1. Is FOIA the best means to get additional information regarding responses?  No.  TCLP will work with any potential respondent to determine if a FOIA needs to be submitted or not
  2. Can confidentiality of responses be requested and obtained?  As TCLP is a governmental municipality, we are subject to FOIA requests.  Therefore, please do not put proprietary information in your responses.  It is not necessary at this time.  Upon selecting a respondent, if proprietary information needs to be given, we will then entertain an NDA through our legal counsel.
  1. What is the process for ensuring RFI responses are kept confidential prior to selection?  See answer above
  2. If no process is available, please indicate level of confidentiality that can be expected.  All is subject to FOIA.


  1. Can a respondent request a stipulation in the agreement that states something like, “Only authorized points of entry and at specified CO’s owned and operated by ISP”, this will allow for the ISP to safeguard the fiber being installed and give leverage to ensure that the mote doesn’t get overrun.   Doing this one can control cross connects, pricing for anyone interested in coming in to use the network, etc.
  1. I believe the answer is yes, but I need more details on this.  Are you referring to field gear or structures (CO, cabs, cables, etc).  We currently tag everything with TCLP and would continue to do so.  Anything that is procured through this would be owned and operated by TCLP and would be tagged as such.
  1. As learned via public articles, is the 11mil budget only for Phase 1 or is it for the full scope of work?
  1. This is different than what you are referencing.  Those phases were for a split deployment across the TCLP service territory.  This is for an entirely different identified area and costs have not been associated yet.  We will work with the selected respondent to identify this based on Staff guidelines, procedures, and standards.
  1. Timeline for construction?  This timeframe and answers to your below questions would be developed with the selected respondent based on network architecture, etc.  Therefore, if you company is selected for the RFI, you would work exclusively with TCLP Staff to develop and identify these items.  The RFI is to select the company that TCLP will begin working with on such items.
  1. Do you have underground utility corridors that are existing?
  2. How much will be above ground and on your power poles?
  3. How much boring/trenching will be required?
  1. It seems from reading the RFI that TCLP would help with marketing of the plan; how?  TV, ads, verbal, fliers, etc.  What exactly will this equate too.   For any take rate, there would need to be marketing involved.  Therefore, all of the items you mentioned would be possible.  If your company has experience with marketing telecom services, then we would like/prefer that.  However, this is definitely not a deal breaker and we would not want a company that has a great service offering to try to market to customers without marketing experience.  Therefore, please do not let that discourage a submission or attempt to “get into marketing” for the sole services of this RFI.  We can always procure marketing services for telecom services outside of this and bring a marketing firm into the fold.
  2. What extent does the community want to participate in the operational aspect of the ISP? Is COOP an option for this project?  For the initial deployment, TCLP would like to solely own and operate the network.  (Operate can happen with a respondent company but will operate under the umbrella of TCLP as a contractor/service agreement).  However, even for the initial deployment, a network architecture should be developed to allow for an open access network for potential future use if TCLP would wish to allow.
  3. Are any additional funds available; State, Federal, Private party donation, community contributions, Millage, etc?  We are working through several of these items, but likely the phase one project would not contain any funding.  Therefore, TCLP would likely fund the entire project (assuming a TCLP owned and operated network).
  4. Any interest in providing free internet to the community?  Flat rate of $X.XX per customer per year paid directly from the City, advance payment required for service.    These types of service and rate discussion would be vetted out after a selection to hit target ROI plans.  As of now, all potential ideas like this are on the table.
  1. If not flat rate what is the expected price point for service?  (gigabit service is usually $70-150 per month)  See question above, but yes, we would look at something similar like this for residential.  C&I would likely be a different price point however.
  1. Does the city have foreclosures that could be donated as areas for CO, Office, etc.  (We could clean the property up or demo and rebuild on site)  We would look at this upon selecting a respondent.  However, we did just procure the lot next to TCLP’s main offices that we are considering using for this project.
  1. Defaulted on property tax
  2. Repo
  3. Condemned buildings
  1. What tax breaks could the city provide for a new business going into this area to help build up the broadband requirement?  Not sure.  I will need to get back to you on this one.
  2. Easement, right of ways, road bores, etc - NO CHARGE from TCLP and city?  Since this will likely be all TCLP owned, this would be an expense directly for TCLP
  3. Is Access to vertical assets that can be used to provide service to potential customers outside the fiber footprint available?  Yes. This can be identified after a respondent is selected.
  4. When looking at Phase 1 of this project, what is TCLP estimating the number of subscribers to be?  This passes by roughly 2000 homes and businesses.  The take rate has not been identified for this exact phase but we expect a higher than 20% take rate.
  5. Of that number, how many are actually MDU subscribers?  We do not have this information.
  6. Of that same number, how many are business entities?  This is not currently available but can be obtained.  Please advise if you would like me to proceed with obtaining this; however, I am unsure if it would be needed at this time?
  7. With regards to this project, who will actually own the fiber assets? TCLP
  8. Assuming TCLP will own the fiber (Net Neutrality), what competitive advantages/disadvantages will there be for an ISP choosing to participate?  Currently, we would likely be looking at an ISP to operate under the umbrella of TCLP.  This would initially make TCLP the ISP while the respondent selected (could be an ISP), would operate the network for TCLP through service agreements, or similar, that are reviewed at some recurring period (likely yearly for the first few years).  Off ramps would initial be built into the agreements, and network, to allow for TCLP to fully take over and operate all portions of the network and fiber if desired.  At this same initial deployment, there would also be technology built into the network to allow for an open access network, should TCLP allow for this in the future.  If your company were looking to propose a different solution, as a partner, etc., you would need to detail that in the portions of the RFI response.  While the current preferred architect is for TCLP to own and operate as described above, we are entertaining all solutions to this project through the RFI.