MCNC seeks private-sector partner for Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative

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Proposals from qualified service providers will be received until July 8 at 5 p.m. EST

Editorial Contacts:
MCNC Communications Hotline: (919) 248.4105
Noah Garrett, NGC Communications, on behalf of MCNC: (252) 423.1277 or press@mcnc.org


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (June 17, 2011)MCNC, the private, not-for-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), announced today that it has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a private-sector service provider to oversee commercial broadband opportunities included in the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI). The GLRBI is the name given to the second of MCNC’s two Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) awards.

The private-sector service provider will be responsible for marketing GLRBI fiber and other broadband services to private business enterprises, wholesale service providers, and to last-mile service providers who are seeking to expand service offerings to underserved consumers and businesses in the areas of the GLRBI build. This partner also will oversee routine and emergency maintenance of the GLRBI fiber. MCNC envisions the partner functioning similarly to FRC/PalmettoNet – MCNC’s private-sector partner for the first round BTOP award.

Capacity for commercial business and consumer use exists on all new build segments of the GLRBI in Northeast North Carolina (including the Outer Banks region), North Central, Graham County, Charlotte to Wilmington, Charlotte to Kannapolis, and Hamlet to Raleigh routes. Capacity also exits on 180 lateral extensions being built to specific community anchor institutions (community colleges, colleges and universities, K-12 schools, public libraries, public health and non-profit healthcare facilities) in these service regions.

“MCNC is a private non-profit whose mission is limited to providing broadband and Internet services to community anchor institutions. As part of the BTOP implementation strategy, MCNC is committed to private-sector service providers using the GLRBI fiber to grow their service areas and reach underserved consumers and businesses in the area of the GLRBI,” commented Joe Freddoso, President and CEO of MCNC. “Through this RFP, MCNC will add to the GLRBI project an experienced private-sector partner to oversee these opportunities.”

The preferred attributes of the selected partner include:

  • Existing service provider clientele with industry contacts;
  • Presence and experience operating in North Carolina;
  • Demonstrated commitment to enabling affordable broadband service for underserved citizens;
  • Experience in the provision of lit service to other providers;
  • Experience in Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU) transactions with commercial business enterprises, public-sector customers, and other service providers;
  • Knowledge of the NTIA BTOP program and sub-recipient status.

“The GLRBI has the potential to allow private-sector telephone and cable companies to reach underserved citizens and businesses with more affordable broadband services,” said e-NC Authority Executive Director Jane Patterson, and member of the MCNC Board of Directors. “Through this RFP process, a private-sector partner that shares the commitment to affordable rural broadband access will be added to the GLRBI team.”

A direct link to this RFP is available online by clicking here. Proposals will be accepted in electronic format only.

Proposals should be submitted to MCNC Chief Financial Officer Patricia Moody at pmoody@mcnc.org. Vendors assume all risk of email delivery. The firm deadline for submission is July 8 at 5 p.m. EST. Late proposals will not be accepted or reviewed.

All inquiries and questions related to this RFP must be directed in writing via email to MCNC’s BTOP RFP Review Committee at btop2-fiberpartner-rfp@mcnc.org. To maintain fairness to all bidders, any attempts to contact MCNC staff regarding this RFP outside of this specifically provided email vehicle will be grounds for MCNC to reject your submission. All questions will be considered to be public and released with appropriate answers to https://www.mcnc.org/btop/btop2-rfp/fiberpartner-questions within 48 business hours of receipt. The last date for questions will be 4 p.m. EST on Wednesday, June 29.

Interested parties also can register to view the RFP and other relevant information at www.mcnc.org/btop.

The GLRBI must be completed in accordance to federal guidelines. All construction must be finished by Jan. 31, 2013 to allow MCNC time to equip and place the fiber optic into service on or before July 31, 2013.

The vendor selected for this RFP will join all of the following firms for Round 2: Globe Communications, Fiber Technologies, Edwards Telecommunications, CommScope, and Kimley-Horn and Associates.

MCNC reserves the right to modify any information presented in this RFP as information becomes available.


MCNC/BTOP Central Webspace For more information regarding all of MCNC’s BTOP activities, visit MCNC’s BTOP Central Web Space online. You also can follow the progress of the GLRBI at www.twitter.com/GLRBI or www.facebook.com/GLRBI. Questions? Please see our FAQ section regarding Round 2 construction questions, or contact us for more details.

About MCNC’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Awards MCNC currently is working on a $146 million expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network scheduled to be complete by 2013. This initiative has been labeled the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative.

To fund this expansion, MCNC applied for and received two U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) awards totaling $104 million. In addition, MCNC raised $42 million in private matching funds as required by the BTOP program. MCNC’s sources of matching funds included $24 million from the Golden LEAF Foundation, $8 million from the MCNC Endowment, $4 million from private-sector wholesale telecommunications company FRC, and an estimated $6.55 million through donations of land and existing conduit from individual community colleges, universities, and others including the Albemarle Pamlico Economic Development Corporation. No direct funding from the State of North Carolina was required. MCNC estimates the expansion of NCREN will create or save 2,500 engineering, construction, and manufacturing jobs in the state.

Both MCNC awards are a part of a coordinated strategy developed by the Office of the Governor, the N.C. Office of Economic Recovery & Investment, and e-NC Authority to improve broadband access for businesses and residents in underserved areas. Once all work is complete, the two rounds of BTOP infrastructure have the potential to serve directly, or through MCNC partnerships with private-sector service providers, more than 1,500 community anchor institutions, 180,000 businesses, and reach more than 300,000 underserved families.

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