If the City of Baltimore is going to grow the footprint of its broadband capacity, it needs the strategy to make good on it. That’s often when city governments call in the consultants.
Late last year, new city CIO Chris Tonjes laid out his plans for projects he’d like the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology to tackle. Among his agenda items was a path to growing the city’s own network capacity by bolstering its 25-mile fiber ring (that is used in support of Baltimore’s 800MHz public radio system) with an additional 25 miles of fiber.
Now it appears MOIT is calling in reinforcements to assist with that very fiber build-out: it released a request for proposals for consulting services related to “broadband public infrastructure strategic planning,” and the due date for bids was May 22.
MOIT is responsible for maintaining and operating Baltimore’s fiber network and oversees the city’s fiber initiatives, along with help from four technicians and engineers. The underground fiber conduits necessary for the existing network — and any overbuild — is owned by the city.
According to the RFP document, MOIT plans to “upgrade and enhance” the city’s fiber ring through “two concurrent projects”:
- A city-funded overbuild of the network to increase the network’s capacity and replace old fiber wire.
- An extension of the fiber network to connect the city’s network to the Inter-County Broadband Network, a high-speed, statewide fiber network connecting roughly 1,000 community anchor institutions. The ICBN project is funded by $115 million in federal dollars allotted through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Any bidding consultant picked will be awarded a one-year contract by the city’s Board of Estimates.
The consultant will be responsible for “a report that presents the viable operating, business and financial options for the use of the city’s broadband fiber-optic infrastructure,” according to the RFP document. Also mentioned: the city “may also opt, at its sole discretion, to engage the consultant on the implementation of any accepted options” laid out in the report, although such implementation isn’t included in the purview of the RFP.
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