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RFP to bring broadband to Boston Public Schools, strengthen public safety announced

April 7, 2017

The project will provide broadband services to Boston Public Schools, public housing and more than 100 City buildings, in addition to strengthening public safety communications.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the release of a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will expand the Boston Fiber Network (BoNet) through a $10 million investment in its fiber backbone and infrastructure. The project will provide broadband services to Boston Public Schools, public housing and more than 100 City buildings, in addition to strengthening public safety communications.

"Boston is a world-class city -- and that needs to include our technology," said Mayor Walsh. "That's why my administration has made the first significant fiber network expansion in over ten years. With this investment, are continuing to provide opportunities for our students, and providing our police, fire and emergency services with the communication and information tools they need. Through expanding the City's fiber network, we are working to close the digital divide, and make broadband services available to all."

The City of Boston's Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) is requesting proposals that will bolster the City's existing BoNet infrastructure and provide future connectivity to the Boston Housing Authority's (BHA) family developments and critical public safety sites. Additionally, this investment will help the City to expand and improve public safety services across the City and present opportunities to deploy Wicked Free Wi-Fi to a broader geography.

The City is seeking multiple proposals and options, including citywide solutions, indivisible multi-zone solutions, and solutions by individual zone(s). Respondents may submit a proposal for one, two, or all three categories.

This investment will match the Boston Public Schools' demand for connectivity and broadband capacity for its students and educators. Expanding Boston's Fiber Optic Network to these schools will deliver gigabit (1 Gbps) bandwidth capacity for PARCC online testing, online learning, administrative and video services and in-campus Wi-Fi, along with additional services. In the future, the City will be able to offer faster speeds using the same fiber optic cables.

Currently, over 130 City buildings are connected to Boston's Fiber Optic Network, including interconnection to state agencies and a remote data center and colocation facility. The BoNet network is the backbone for connectivity in City buildings,  phone service, public safety video surveillance and wireless access points, including Boston's Wicked Free Wi-Fi. By operating its own fiber network, the City saves millions of dollars per year in telecommunications costs.

This network buildout will expand the BoNet network by connecting the remaining 73 Boston Public Schools with City fiber, as well as 24 family housing developments and other sites for public safety and transportation services.

To view the RFP, visit: boston.gov/procurement, select "Access the Supplier Portal" and search for EV00004171