MCNC seeks vendor for equipment to operate NCREN expansion

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Request for Proposals will be received until Sept. 19 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. (Aug. 31, 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 identifying an appropriate vendor(s) to supply DWDM-based Optical and/or Carrier Ethernet Networking equipment to light fiber routes (some existing and some currently under construction) that have been funded through the second phase of the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI).

MCNC currently operates an optical network to support the NCREN community using existing dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) equipment. The current network includes two metro-region optical rings, one in Research Triangle Park and one in Charlotte, which is being expanded through the first phase of the GLRBI and is scheduled to be complete by late fall.

As part of the second phase, respondents to this RFP will be asked to propose a solution to equip new network fiber paths to be constructed in the northeast, north-central, and south-central portions of the state that complement the existing NCREN and the new Round 1 backbone. There are up to 179 Community Anchor Institutions (CAI) in the state that reside along the Round 2 routes that are required to be connected to NCREN along the newly-constructed infrastructure. Responding vendors must include in their proposals a method that will allow circuits to be created to these CAIs (or CAI aggregator) to at least the point on the combined network where the proposed equipment connects to existing NCREN equipment.

Some of these CAIs also will require redundant connections. Where this is the case, responding vendors as part of their proposed solutions, may not specify any version or form of Spanning Tree Protocol. In addition, responding vendors also may not use “Alien Waves” as part of their proposed solutions.

Proposals will be accepted in electronic format only. A direct link to this RFP is available online by clicking here. 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 Sept. 19 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 rfp-optical2-equipment@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 a submission. All questions will be considered to be public and released with appropriate answers to https://www.mcnc.org/btop/btop2-rfp/optical-equipment2-questions within 48 business hours of receipt. The last date for questions will be 4 p.m. EST on Friday, Sept. 12.

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

All construction for both Round 1 and Round 2 portions of the GLRBI must be finished by Jan. 31, 2013 to allow MCNC time to equip and place the fiber network into service on or before July 31, 2013.

The vendor(s) 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 is committed to involving small, minority, and local businesses for consideration for awards for this RFP. The North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, through their Minority Business Enterprise Center, has with partners like the Self Help Credit Union, created loan programs targeted for small, minority and local businesses who desire to bid as a prime or in partnership with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act opportunities. OEMs and resellers interested in learning more about these loan programs should contact Kaye Gantt at the Minority Business Enterprise Center via email at kgantt@ncimed.com or phone at (919) 956.8889.

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


About The Golden LEAF Foundation The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,110 grants worth over $511 million since its inception. To learn more about applying for a grant, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call (888) 684.8404.

About Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative MCNC currently is working on a $144 million expansion of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) scheduled to be completed 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 $40 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 $4 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 -part of a coordinated strategy developed by the Office of North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, 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.

Online Resources 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.

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