Earlier this spring, Pikeville, Kentucky, released an RFI for partner interest to bring Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) to businesses, community anchor institutions, municipal facilities, and residential properties. The Appalachian community is ready to move forward and recently released its Request for Proposals (RFP) for Partnership for FTTP Network Deployment. Responses are due January 4, 2017.
A Measured Approach
The community wants any potential partners to focus on a project to be executed in phases. This RFP is for Phase One, described as:
Phase One of the City’s multi-stage project will include constructing a fiber backbone in the selected service area—approximately 57 miles of distribution fiber that will pass 2,850 homes, businesses, and other community organizations that represent potential customers. Phase One will also include constructing a network “core” site that will aggregate traffic from the FTTP sites and house the network’s routers that will allow for interconnection with other networks including the network’s “upstream” connection to the Internet. Planning for upstream connectivity is a critical element of the partnership, and will require meaningful coordination between the City, the Partner, and the Commonwealth.
Eventually, the goal is to deploy a network that will serve the city of Pikeville (pop. 7,000), nearby Coal Run Village, and other areas in Pike County. Pikeville expects to receive grants, but also anticipates contributing to the cost of the project with funds from bonds, loans, or other mechanism. They also state in the RFP that, depending on the type of partnership, they anticipate some sharing of risk and financial contribution from the partner they choose.
The community realizes how critical high-quality connectivity is to the future of the city and the region. Pikeville, the county seat, is in an area that was once famous for coal production. As eastern Kentucky looks for ways to diversify their economy, high-quality Internet access will be a key component. Community leaders expect RFP respondents to include plans that will integrate the state’s Kentucky Wired middle mile project into potential Pikeville plans.
As the Pike County seat, Pikeville is home to a number of local, regional, and federal agencies including the county courthouse, an Eastern District of Kentucky district court divisional office, an FBI office, and a U.S. Marshals Service location.
There is also a strong banking and legal sector and as coal mining is phased out, miners are learning technology careers through local initiatives. There are also several colleges, a university, and a school that teaches healthcare related careers. In 2015 they obtained a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and from the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop a Broadband Technology Center. They also received grants for technology-based training and degree programs in the region.
Seeking Flexibility, Creativity
The Appalachian Mountains are a beautiful place to live and work, but a challenge in which to deploy for any partner. Pikeville has not chosen which model they wish to pursue in a partnership, so they hope to hear from flexible candidates. Pikeville has listed three potential models in the RFP, but has also noted that they may determine that a combination would work best or look at components of RFP responses to craft a unique model:
Model 1: Traditional Infrastructure Public–Private Partnership - The city’s partner takes a very active role and will likely contribute financially to the project.
Model 2: Dark Fiber Lease - The city builds and owns the dark fiber physical infrastructure, leases it to the partner, who then lights it and offers services to subscribers.
Model 3: Operational Contractor - The partner would act as the city’s agent for managing network planning, implementation, and operation and would not offer services directly to the users.
- December 9, 2016 – Deadline for submitting letter of intent to respond to RFP
- December 9, 2016 – Deadline for submitting questions about this RFP to the City
- December 16, 2016 – Responses to questions due (from City)
- January 4, 2017 – RFP responses due
You can view the RFP online at Pikeville's website.
Update: The city extended the previous deadline of December 2, 2016 for letters of intent to respond to December 9, 2016, as reflected above.