The Department of Technology (“DT”) on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco (“City”) invites interested parties to respond to this Request for Information (“RFI”) regarding the City’s Broadband Choices at Home, (“Project”); a comprehensive municipal broadband initiative intended to:
Offer gigabit Internet access to all households and businesses;
Help bridge the digital divide; and
Cultivate a robust and competitive ISP market.
DT is looking to engage the services of one or more advisors to assist DT to define the scope of the Project. DT’s intention is to issue a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) when it is ready to procure those services. DT has issued this RFI in order to assist DT in the preparation of the RFP. In particular, DT will use information received from Respondents to this RFI to:
Refine the scope of work for the advisory services RFP;
Help determine funding requirements for the advisory services RFP;
Inform other aspects of the advisory services RFP;
Assess interest and potential participation in responding to the advisory services RFP.
DT expects to use the advisory services to develop the information necessary to determine the appropriate role for the City and assist in pursuing that role. As the City considers how it can best achieve the goals of gigabit service, digital inclusion and robust ISP competition, it is seeking advisory services to evaluate the City’s role in the design, finance, build, operate and maintain of a new communications system.
Additionally, DT anticipates using the advisory services to assist in evaluating whether to pursue the Project as a municipal project or engage private partners for elements of the Project, including the following:
Identifying the feasibility and risks associated with the publicly-funded and public-private partnership models;
Understanding the costs and schedule for the Project to be implemented under the respective models;
Evaluate the allocation or sharing of risks such as, the timely delivery of the Project, managing financial and implementation risks, and providing cost and schedule certainty for the City
Compare and contrast the areas of strength contributed by the public and private participants of a partnership model, and the municipal model.;
For background on the Project, the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s Budget and Legislative Analyst (BLA) prepared a financial analysis of building a municipal fiber network to provide all residential, commercial, and industrial premises in San Francisco with 1 Gigabit per second internet service. The BLA released its report titled “Financial Analysis of Options for a Municipal Fiber Network for Citywide Internet Access” (BLA Report) on March 15, 2016. (The report can be found here: http://www.sfbos.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=55326) The BLA Report examined three approaches to financing and operating the network: (1) public; (2) private; and (3) public/private partnership development and operation. Respondents should refer to the BLA Report for background information on the Internet market in San Francisco, the cost of various options for building a citywide network, implementation challenges, and options for creating a citywide network.
Twelve percent of San Francisco residents, over 100,000 people, do not have Internet service at home – including 14% of San Francisco’s public school students. The price of Internet access is cited as the main reason residents do not have access at home.
50,000 residents have sluggish dial-up speeds.
Internet access at speeds of at least one Gigabit per second, the standard in next-generation broadband, is currently available to just 2.6% of San Franciscans.
Private providers may not have sufficient incentives to make the investment necessary to ensure Gigabit speed service in all San Francisco neighborhoods.
Approaches to Offer Gigabit Speed Internet: The BLA Report defines two buildout approaches: (1) demand driven; and (2) utility-based. We are interested in exploring these two options, defined as:
Connection on Demand:: While the fiber distribution will be constructed to every neighborhood, drop connections to individual properties would only be constructed at the time a customer subscribes to the service.
Pre-Connected: In addition to the distribution network, drop connections to all residential and business properties would be constructed by default.
The report identifies the choice between these two approaches as a key decision. (BLA Report, p. 4.)
Models to Deliver Citywide Gigabit Speed Internet
The BLA Report examines three models for developing and operating a network:
Public Model: The City would establish a municipal fiber enterprise and assume responsibility for the construction and operations to provide a Gigabit speed network.
Private Model: The City would assume no responsibility for deployment of a Gigabit speed network, but would rely on the private sector to provide Gigabit speed Internet to all premises.
Public-Private Model: The City and one or more private sector partners would share costs, financial, and operational risks with construction of a Gigabit speed network.
RFI SUBMISSION CONDITIONS
Inquiry Only – No Contract This RFI is an inquiry only. No contract or agreement will be entered into as a result of this process. The City cannot guarantee either that the Project will advance to the public procurement stage or that any subsequent procurement, if there is one, will follow the approach described herein.
Changes to This RFI The City may at any time, and at its sole discretion modify, amend, cancel and/or reissue this RFI by written addendum. If your organization wishes to be notified of any addendum please send primary point of contact’s: name, email address, and phone number to: TIS-Connectivity-BBCH@sfgov.org with the words “Universal Internet RFI” in the email subject line.
If an addendum is issued prior to the date information is due, it will be made available on the following website: www.sfgov.org. If an addendum is issued after information has been received, it may, at the City’s discretion, be provided only to those proposers whose submissions may be impacted by such addendum.
Information Preparation Costs The City shall not be liable for any costs incurred by the Respondent in the preparation, submission, presentation, or revision of its information, or for any aspect of the Respondent’s pre‐information submission activity. No Respondent shall be compensated for participating in this RFI, except under an agreement for performance of services signed by a City‐authorized representative and the Respondent.
Submittal of Confidential Information Information submitted to the City in response to this RFI is subject to the California Public Records Act (“CRA”) and the City’s Sunshine Ordinance.
Respondents, however, may designate as confidential those portions of their submission that contain trade secrets or other proprietary data, which may be exempt from disclosure under CRA and Sunshine Ordinance.
To designate portions of the submission as confidential, Respondents must mark their submission, and any other information submitted, as follows:
1. Mark the checkbox: "This Submission includes trade secrets or other proprietary data." Include contact information for the person to be notified in the event of a CRA request or subpoena relating to the submission.
2. Mark any information to be restricted with the following: "Confidential: Use or disclosure of information or data contained on this response is subject to the restriction indicated earlier." Indiscriminate labeling of material as "Confidential" may be grounds for leaving a Submission unread or otherwise disregarding the information therein.
In the event that the City receives a request for information that has been marked as “Confidential,” the City will provide the Respondent with written notification of such requests to the address identified in the submission. The City will make the initial determination as to whether information marked "Confidential," will be disclosed pursuant to a request under CRA or the Sunshine Ordinance, valid subpoena, or other legal requirement. In the event the City agrees with Respondent that the material is not subject to public disclosure, the City will work with the Respondent so that the City can make the best case for non-disclosure. If these efforts are not successful and disclosure is required, the City will coordinate such disclosure with the Respondent. If this procedure is followed, Respondent shall have no remedy against the City with regard to disclosure of information released pursuant to CRA requests, valid subpoenas, or other legally required disclosures.
Ownership of Submitted Materials All materials submitted in response to or in connection with this RFI shall become the property of the City. However, proprietary information marked as such will be protected as described above.
Rights of the City The City reserves all rights at law and equity with respect to this RFI including, but not limited to, the unqualified right, at any time and in its sole discretion, to change or modify this RFI, to reject any and all information, to waive defects or irregularities in information received, to seek clarification of information, to request additional information, to request any or all Respondents to make a presentation, to undertake discussions and modifications with one or more Respondents, who, at any time, subsequent to the deadline for submissions to this RFI, may express an interest in the subject matter hereof. No Respondent shall have any rights against the City arising from the contents of this RFI, the receipt of information, or the incorporation in or rejection of information contained in any response or in any other document. The City makes no representations, warranties, or guarantees that the information contained herein, or in any addenda hereto, is accurate, complete, or timely or that such information accurately represents the conditions that would be encountered during the performance of any subsequent contract issued from a separate RFQ or RFP. The furnishing of such information by the City shall not create or be deemed to create any obligation or liability upon it for any reason whatsoever; and each Respondent, by submitting its information, expressly agrees that it has not relied upon the foregoing information, and that it shall not hold the City liable or responsible therefore in any manner whatsoever.
No Personal Liability No City officer, agent or employee shall be charged personally with any liability by a Respondent or another or held liable to a Respondent or another under any term or provision of this RFI or any statements made herein or because of the submission or attempted submission of information or other response hereto or otherwise.
RFI SUBMISSION GUIDELINES Respondents shall submit their response in the format outlined below. Because this RFI is not part of a formal procurement; responses will be carefully reviewed but not evaluated or scored. The intent is to receive informed recommendations on possible approaches for meeting Project goals and identify options for overcoming Project challenges. The City may conduct interviews with Respondents to clarify responses and/or obtain more information; therefore, it is not necessary nor desired to provide exhaustive responses nor respond to each question.
The broad and varied nature of this inquiry make it unlikely that any single Respondent will be able to provide all the requested information, but Respondents are encouraged to answer every applicable section as completely as possible.