The City of Gary, Indiana is seeking a partner(s) to help deploy ubiquitous, accessible and affordable high-speed broadband to every home and business within the City. The intended plan is to partner with a service provider(s) to build, operate & maintain a government middle mile fiber ring leveraging the City's ARPA funds and working together to obtain additional State funding to ensure the partner deploys commercial and residential retail broadband.
The City of Gary seeks to do this in a way that ensures quality service, protects the City from unplanned future obligations and effectively leverages public dollars to get the best result.
This is a City-wide initiative led by Mayor Jerome Prince and the Office of Information and Technology.
Gary is a city in Lake County, IN that has approximately 75,000 residents located on Lake Michigan, about 25 miles from downtown Chicago, IL. The City has seen population and business declines in recent years, but has a beautiful shoreline and visionary leadership eager to propel the City forward into a new age of increased opportunity for the City.
Addressing the issue of digital equity in Gary was determined a priority by the administration of Mayor Jerome Prince as Covid-19 put the City's existing digital infrastructure under the microscope. Data from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) shows that across Gary's 12 census tracts, the percentage of residential users not subscribed to a broadband service range from 26.2% to 50.5%. The lack of broadband availability and adoption is especially noticeable in minority and high-poverty communities in Gary.
In an effort to tackle these digital equity issues and to equip the City of Gary with future-proof broadband infrastructure, this opportunity is driven by a strategy to deploy modern and scalable digital infrastructure throughout the City to serve government, residential, business and community anchor institution (Schools, Libraries, Non-Profit/Public Healthcare providers) needs. There is also desire for the City to offer free WiFi is some City parks, through their service or the partner's service.
The City does not own any existing fiber assets today and leases fiber for internet service to government buildings and for public safety resources and assets.
In the Attachments section you will find a parcel-level map of occupied/unoccupied properties within Gary's city limits (Attachment B), and a map of all City-owned properties for this project (Attachment C). Attachment D contains a map of the City of Gary's government facilities and educational institutions that should form the basis for providers' proposals for a middle mile/government services fiber ring. The map in Attachment D can also be accessed online here.
Please use the maps referenced above to inform your proposals as they relate to the project goals in the Opportunity Overview below.
The City has chosen to invest a portion (up to $4Million) of its $80Million allotment from the American Rescue Plan Act’s (May 2021) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund in the construction of this digital infrastructure foundation and plans to work together with the chosen provider(s) to apply for Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) funding from the US Treasury and Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), both of which are administered by the State of Indiana, as well as other future funding sources.
As part of these efforts, the City of Gary is working to achieve the 'Broadband Ready' certification for the State of Indiana, which provides for turnaround time and cost savings relating to the permitting process. More details about the Broadband Ready certification can be found here. The certification is expected to be in place by the due date of this solicitation.
The City of Gary seeks to deploy high speed broadband internet connectivity across the City to be made available to all residents and businesses.
The goal is to build a future proof, high speed network off the back of a middle mile/ government services fiber ring. Through a public-private partnership (P3) or similar model, the vision is to build a sustainable model that can provide reliable broadband service to residents and businesses without additional public funding support beyond the initial investment, and without requirements for the City of Gary to maintain and manage its own fiber.
The City of Gary's primary goals for the project are listed below:
1) Middle Mile/Government Services Fiber Ring
With a third-party private sector broadband service provider and leveraging the City’s allotment of ARPA funds, provide a comprehensive, City-wide digital fiber-based platform from which to deliver City services by the end of 2025. The City would work in partnership with the provider to design and support the build of the middle mile fiber ring to connect all critical assets. A list of buildings can be found here
As a priority in the rollout of the middle mile government fiber ring, the City plans to provide free wireless access in at least 6 City park facilities. While the City plans to enabled the service prior to the middle mile deployment, it wants to include it in its future service.
The addresses for the 6 parks are listed below:
These are mapped on the accompanying City of Gary Facilities map.
Once the middle mile ring construction is in flight, it will determine and evaluate it cutover plan to the ring, with the potential for a managed internet service.
2) Last Mile/Fiber to the Home Solution
The City wants the selected partner(s) to provide the availability of scalable, affordable fiber or wireless access to every residential and business location in the City limits of Gary by the end of 2026. This solution should be at least 100MBPS symmetrically with preference to higher speeds give federal funding sources such as CPF and BEAD state a preference for infrastructure that is scalable to decades of future needs. In high density areas, this usually means fiber to the premise or fixed wireless service that is directly fed an all fiber backhaul network.
As part future-proof requirements of this project, the City wants every parcel in City limits to have an option for service, to include unoccupied properties. This will provide the option to serve these residences if/when they become reoccupied and for economic development
A successful partner will be able to bring a plan, technology, service and operational ability to meet this need.
3) Increase adoption of broadband service among the City's residents.
The City has 12 census tracts within or including property in the City limits. According to the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) broadband map these census tracts have the following rates of residences not subscribing to broadband service.
One tangible goal suggestion would be to reduce the number of non-subscribers in each census tract by 2/3rds by the end of Calendar year 2026 and by 90% by the end of Calendar year 2028. A successful partner will have a plan to support sales, marketing and connection with federal and state assistance programs to help subscribe to broadband and will commit to participating in the City's digital equity plan as appropriate.
4) WAN Connectivity availability for Gary's public/private educational institutions and universities
The City of Gary would like to see proposals and designs include a plan for the middle mile portion of the project to extend to the City's educational institutions to offer them the potential in future to connect to the service. This will give Gary's educational institutions the possibility of engaging with the selected partner(s) through their own contracting processes.
The Gary School Corporation is releasing a WAN RFP concurrent with this City of Gary Government Private WAN solicitation. The stakeholders from the City of Gary and the Gary Schools Corporation are in open dialogue and sharing information with the shared long term goal of connecting the Gary community.
Gary School Corporation wishes to have a WAN solution in place by July 1, 2023. Serving the short-term WAN needs (5 Years) of the School Corporation is not necessary for your response to the City of Gary Government WAN solution. However, service providers should bear in mind that the School Corporation WAN needs will be ongoing. Thus, the ability to serve Gary School Corporation's future WAN needs should be considered in the service providers' response to the City of Gary Government WAN opportunity. For this reason, the Gary School Corporation locations are included in the City of Gary Government WAN opportunity.
A map of the City's educational institutions can be found in Attachment D, and the City would like to see middle mile plans include these as far as possible as part of providers' proposals.
The City of Gary is open to models that helps achieve their service and financial goals. A successful proposer will be a partner to the City of Gary and is open to a growing/evolving relationship through other uses of the network once the base broadband need is met. The City views this as a long term relationship and is open to models that achieve both the City's and partner's need.
In addition to the $4M of committed ARPA funding, the City will work with the provider to support other funding streams but does not want the entire program to be dependent on being awarded to necessary grants or funding. A success respondent will have a financial plan and funding options to complete the proposed program.
The City of Gary is looking to evaluate three parts of the proposals at the same time: Technology, Partnership Model, and Partner.
The City of Gary desires to build a middle mile/government services fiber ring connecting government buildings and assets, which can then be extended to serve businesses and residents. The "last mile delivery" to the home or business can be wired, wireless or a mix with fiber as a priority for last mile residential service. The City of Gary is open to proposals that help them achieve their cost, reliability, feasibility, and scalability goals.
The City wants to understand the economic and technical challenges that may limit the deployment of symmetrical internet speeds of 500MBPS to 1GBPS to every residential , business and government location in Gary but at a minimum symmetrical 100MBPS is required. The City is very interested in the resulting residential, business, government service scaling to future bandwidth needs and that will factor in the evaluation. Reliability and cost are also key considerations to ensure resident adoption. A successful partner will be able to show they have a plan for consistent service, technology evolution and market competitive pricing.
The City of Gary is partnering with technology consultants to help them ensure the technology is the right fit for them and the area. The City of Gary wants to select a broadband service provider partner and a proposed solution that can grow with the community as it evolves and be adaptable as new technology is deployed. While there are not specific size/height requirements or limitations to above ground technology infrastructure, the City may consider aesthetics on how the proposed technology fits the existing landscape.
A successful partner will be able to propose a technology solution that achieve the connectivity goals and outline a plan for how the technology solution evolves over the lifecycle of the partnership. This applies both to last mile but also the government middle mile ring so that the City has options for future wireless and Smart City/IoT connections to the network.
The City of Gary is open to a staged rollout of the broadband capabilities based on fiber and last mile construction and are looking to begin rollout in early 2023 and to have complete coverage by 2026 at the latest.
The City of Gary is seeking a public-private partnership (P3) or equivalent model, to achieve the outcomes their communities need. The City uses the term public-private partnership (P3) loosely to refer to a more general partnership between the City and a broadband provider(s), and does not necessarily entail a separate P3 entity.
The City believes that a private sector partner is in the best position to drive the needed technology, maintenance and operations with a governance model to ensure resident and business needs are met and the City does not want to add existing services and expertise to its existing services.
The City of Gary is open to different options of partnership models and lengths of time to achieve desired outcomes.
A successful partner will have a model where revenue from the P3 makes the model sustainable and does not require additional operating investment from the City of Gary. The City does not have an expectation for revenue to come back to the City's general fund from the P3 and expects P3 profits to be reinvested in service. The City is open to new revenue streams, but is not looking to manage new services. The City of Gary is open to different ownership models, but will favor models that do not require the City to be responsible for the management and maintenance of the fiber.
A successful proposer will suggest an approach for the P3/partnership model, including the necessary inputs from the City of Gary and the roles for the government and private partner(s). A successful partner will also be able to show a sustainable funding model, where finances come from, and different scenarios based on sign ups or tiers of service. The City of Gary is open to additional ways to monetize the fiber/broadband (with other services or communities) to support sustainability.
The City of Gary is looking for a proposer to have a recommended model and structure, but understand and expect that final models, terms, SLAs, governance, and financials will be negotiated with the recommended partner. Any partnership model will tie the deployment middle mile government fiber to the overall goals of the program.
The City of Gary seeks a partner to support design, build and deployment of the network necessary to deliver connectivity but also in creation, and management of the partnership model. A successful partner will be able to work with the City throughout the duration of implementation and operation.
At a minimum, the partner would need to manage the operations of the P3 including maintenance and upgrade of the technology, delivery of service, customer acquisition/billing, provide technical support for end users and general operations.
A successful partner will be able to clearly articulate roles and responsibilities of both the partner and the City of Gary, as well as any additional needs from the City of Gary beyond the initial capital investment (governance, right of way, permitting etc.). As other broadband and ISP providers exist in Gary, the City seeks to treat all current and future providers fairly.
A successful partner will be able to bring relevant case studies and experience as well as understanding and vision on market rates, SLAs meeting at least the Federal Communications Commissioner and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program minimum service standards (99.9954% uptime and less than or equal to 100ms round trip latency) and a plan for sustainability and growth.
The City seeks a partner(s) that can deploy or support the deployment of all parts of their government fiber ring through or in alignment with the P3. The City intends to use its statement ARPA funds to construct the middle mile/government services fiber ring by connecting public facilities across Gary but is open to discussing other models or additional funding.
Gary aims for this project to support the local economy and employment. While not a specific requirement of the project, the City of Gary will favor partners who seek to utilize local individuals and businesses as part of the construction, implementation and operation of their broadband solution.
Include and prioritize provisions for free wireless access in 6 strategically located city park facilities as part of the middle mile build out.
This request for qualification was released on Thursday, July 14, 2022.
We will be accepting responses through Friday, August 12, 2022 at 5:00 pm.
Based on the responses to the vendor questions, the City of Gary will determine a short list of proposers for further due diligence, including capability and technology review, discussion of partnership model and financing discussion. City stakeholders will meet with one or multiple providers and may require further questions to be answered.
Based on the submitted information and vendor meetings, the City will ask any qualified respondent for a final pricing and proposal.
The City of Gary reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, or to accept any one or more complete items of a proposal and to make awards as best benefits the City of Gary.
The City of Gary reserves the right to cancel the solicitation for any reason up to the time of the proposal submission deadline.
The City of Gary reserves the right to reject proposals in whole or in part for failure to comply with any specification, condition, or Federal Law, State Law or Gary Ordinance.
The City of Gary will select a preferred proposer to negotiate the final P3 structure and contract. If negotiations cannot be finalized, the City of Gary may negotiate with other providers.
The City of Gary's goal is to have their recommended vendor by the October 2022 and move with responsible speed to select a final partner by the end of 2022.
The City of Gary has partnered with Marketplace.city to support the sourcing and evaluation of a suitable broadband partner. For this project, Marketplace.city shows the City of Gary the market landscape of companies, solutions and comparable implementations, and manages the procurement process. The City of Gary then leverages Marketplace.city's expertise to help select the provider that best fits their need.
Pursuant to the agreement entered into between the City of Gary and Marketplace.city, the winning provider(s) will be responsible to Marketplace.city for an administrative fee in the amount of a percentage of the initial contract value that will be collected when the provider(s) receives payments from the City.
Marketplace.city will confirm that agreement through a separate agreement with the selected provider(s).
The administrative fee paid by the winning provider is calculated as a percentage of the initial contract value using a sliding scale model, collected when the vendor receives payments. The administrative fee is described in more detail here. The finalized contract between City and the selected provider(s) will reference the use of the Marketplace process and associated fee.