Monday, March 30, 2009

Broadband: Abq RFP Cancelled

There was fair hoopla when the City of Albuquerque put out a request for proposal to bring wireless broadband to the entire city, especially area less well off economically. The cost have been $30 million, I was told. So it might have a clue (or clueless) when
“I don’t know,” was a common answer from city of Albuquerque staff to questions from the more than 50 people at a May 2007 bidders conference for the proposed wireless broadband network across Albuquerque. “I would have to check that,” was another response. A fair proportion of the 50 people had come from out of town.
Not quite four months later, on September 28, 2007, a city inter-office memo quietly appeared canceling the proposal.
About six weeks ago I happened to wonder what became of the project. I started my inquiries with Deborah James, said to be public information officer for Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez. I started with Ms. James because PIOs get paid to answer questions from people like me. Ms. James has a reputation for non-response, an accurate reputation, it seems. Something like five emails elicited one response. That was a phone call during which Ms. James promised to have someone call me.
Eventually I sought another source. About 36 hours of email back and forth, most of it due to some compatibility issues, brought the cancelation memo via email. The memo said the city's idea was to send "little or no" money. But "the proposals presumed a capital investment that could run into the millions." Also, "the proposals required an investment or solution that did not meet the technical guidelines of the RFP."
The memo said, "The original scope of services is outdated."
That, quietly, was that.
The private sector wireless guys are happy.

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