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Vendor Information Meeting

Questions and Answers



Following Questions were emailed to OIT by October 24, 2006.

1)     Will the RFP Maine expects to issue in early 2007 include the LMR system, towers, site work, and microwave etc.?  Or will the RFP’s be separate for each system?


Yes, the State plans to release in early 2007 one RFP for the entire MSCommNet system inclusive of all tower, site work, radio and microwave equipment.


2)     If the entire system is bid as a single RFP, will vendors be allowed to bid selected portions of the system?


No, the State plans to seek a single vendor from the RFP procurement process.


3)     Microwave infrastructure - Will the new system be solely TDM based or will a packet-based system be explored?


At the current time this decision has not been made.  The State will consider recommendations; however the new system will be required integrate with the State’s legacy system/equipment.


4)     Microwave infrastructure - The microwave reports specify a 3 DS3 system; will there be bandwidth requirements beyond 2 DS3 for data and 1 DS3 for voice? Would the state consider OC-3?


The State is currently reviewing, and might possibly consider for the RFP, the requirement for OC-3 bandwidth.


5)     Microwave infrastructure - Is video conferencing or video surveillance a requirement now or in the future, if yes, will the microwave network be used to carry the video?


No. Video conferencing or video surveillance is not a requirement currently.


6)     Microwave infrastructure - The microwave reports specify the entire system supporting SNMP; will that include microwave radios, MUX’s, Channel banks, etc.?

a.      Would the state consider a single non-SNMP based management system?

The required protocol for this system has not been finalized by the State at this time.


b.      Would the state consider multiple management systems?


The State would prefer to have all systems that are part of MSCommNet be managed from one network monitoring system.


7)     Do the Site Development cost estimates contained in the MACRO report address all of the anticipated site development costs including things like access road improvements, site electrical upgrades, relocation of existing equipment, etc.?


Yes, the Site Development cost estimates are intended to include all of the anticipated site development costs, including factors such as access road improvements, site electrical upgrades, relocation of existing equipment, etc.


8)     At the Bidder’s conference it was mentioned that talks were to be held with municipal and local users regarding their potential participation in the project.  Can you report on the outcome of these meetings and what impact they may have on the overall project?


The questions and answers from the municipal and local information meetings are attached.  The MSCommNet system design effort includes scalability to accommodate municipal and county collaboration with the State’s infrastructure.  The State anticipates minimum impact on the project.


9)     The MACRO report identified approximately $4M for a Radio Project Office.  What is the role of this office and would this budget be used to fund a System Integrator if that is the approach that the state chooses to pursue?


The Radio Project Office (RPO) budget does not include funds for a system integrator.  The function of the RPO is to manage the project efforts for the duration of the MSCommNet program. The RPO will provide the State’s project managers for all projects, provide the project leadership role, represent the project at all organizational levels, provide project status reporting, etc.  The RPO will be staffed either with internal or external resources depending on need.  Refer to the Systems Design Report Section I for further information.


10) The MACRO report suggests a functional implementation plan e.g. Site development followed by Backhaul implementation followed by LMR radio installation.  Has any consideration been given to the potential cost savings that may be realized by a regional implementation approach?  The functional implementation approach requires multiple visits to each radio site.  A regional implementation plan that performs all required work (site upgrades, backhaul installation and LMR radio installation) at the same time would seem to offer the potential for reduced costs as a result of the simpler logistics and improved efficiencies achieved, for example, by performing all tower related work at the same time.  This is especially true at the remote sites that require helicopter access where significant savings may be achieved through the fewer number of helicopter visits. 


The State has not ruled out any implémentation approach.  The procurement process is to solicit the best and most cost effective way for implementation to proceed.  The RFP is currently planned to seek the installation of a single, MSCommNet system, including site improvement and the installation of VHF radio and microwave interconnect equipment, as a single turn-key implementation.


11) Is it correct to assume that the site development and backhaul implementations could be separate procurements, and could be under separate warranty and maintenance than the LMR system?  Has any consideration been given to warranty and maintenance issues associated with procuring these phases either as separate procurements or as a single procurement phased over three or four years?


Please refer to the State’s response to Question #1.


12) Will the RFP specify an implementation approach or will the specific approach be left up to the bidder to propose?


The implementation approach will be left up to the bidder.


13) The report does not address the transition, or cutover, between the existing system and the new system which is a critical issue in terms of maintaining continuity of service during the transition.   Has any planning been done on how to execute this transition?  Will it be the responsibility of the vendor/System Integration to develop and execute the transition plan?


The State believes that the old microwave will need to remain operational until the point in time that the new microwave system is tested, accepted and placed into service.  The State currently plans that the RFP will require proposers to present an outline of their respective transition/migration approach.


14)  Section D 2 of the report mentions Remote Site Interconnect; besides status/alarm reporting and dispatching, are there other operational needs for interconnection such as wide area calling (other than that supported through console patching)?  If so, how often would wide area calls be required, between what agencies at what sites, how many simultaneous calls would be required, and how would wide area calls be managed?

Operational issues and any associated designs that would support wide area calling will be the responsibility of the integrator, which would be addressed during their final design phase of the project.


15) Will the State please allow until November 30, 2006 for additional questions?


The deadline for vendor questions was October 24, 2006.  The procurement process will allow for additional questions after release of the RFP.


16) Can the State please share their proposal evaluation process?  Specifically, can the State provide details including:-Will pricing and technology sections of the RFP be considered separately?  Which one will be evaluated first?  And, will a different set of evaluators be assigned to review each separately?  Will the State use a point system for scoring?  Will the State provide a public bid opening or will bids be held as non-public documents until after the evaluation process?


The proposal evaluation process will be explained in the forthcoming RFP.  In keeping within the rules of the Division of Purchases, which are available at, all of the above questions should be addressed at that time.


17) What is the process that will be used to determine the criteria used to design the SI model for the January 2007 RFP?  Who will make the decision of what type of SI model to use and will that decision be made between now and RFP release? 


OIT and their business partners plan to base the SI model decision on requirements and funding.  The decision will be provided in the RFP.


18) How will recent State Police purchases impact the proposal evaluation process?


The recent State Police purchases will have no impact on the proposal evaluation process.


19) Will the State allow other vendors to join the State contract and provide competitive pricing to Statewide agencies?  If so, please provide details including the process and contact person information?


At this time, the procurement process for the implementation phase is intended to result in one system integration being chosen utilizing a competitive process.


20) Can the State ensure that additional State contract purchases be made through a competitive procurement process from the time of RFP release through final contract signing to allow for a fair proposal evaluation process? 


The State will consider a temporary suspension of procurement on radio equipment (except for emergencies) from RFP release thru awarded contract.


21) The 900 page report released by Macro appears to be primarily technical.  Is it the State’s intent to provide functional requirements along with technical requirements in the upcoming RFP?


Yes.  The State is intending to have a performance/functional based specification in the RFP.


22) Will there be a migration strategy required for forward compatibility of equipment purchased in the past 6 months as well as equipment purchased in the future? 


Yes.  The State will require a migration strategy for all components being supplied as part of the new MSCommNet system. 


23) Although OIT has conceptualized a phased deployment plan which begins with several years of site development, then the Microwave System being built after that is completed and finally upgrading the LMR System, will OIT be receptive to different perspectives for the phased approach?  A phased approach that combines site development improvements, interoperability enhancements and radio communications upgrades and replacement, would not only save the State money, but would demonstrate real time development to Maine’s State and Local entities while utilizing the existing budget.


The State is receptive to all approaches that are submitted with vendor proposals.  The State plans to express its expectations in the forthcoming RFP.


24) It was mentioned that the State of Maine is working on a Statement of Work. When can this document be issued pre-RFP to the vendors?


The Statement of Work will be released as part of the RFP.


25) Will the State provide a coverage requirement for the entire State or will each agency provide their own coverage requirement? If the intent is for each agency to provide their own coverage requirement, can the State ensure that each agency provides the same requirement, for example, 95%?


All State agencies operating on the MSCommNet system are expected to experience the same coverage performance.


26) Will there be a requirement for radio coverage within specific buildings within the State?


No.  The requirement for radio coverage within specific buildings within the State is not a current requirement for this project.


27) Will frequency allocation stay the same, or will agency frequencies be reallocated to provide coverage throughout the entire State?


Microwave will require re-licensing for the new microwave system.  The State is currently narrowbanding the current VHF licenses, and intends to utilize them in their existing locations.


28) In terms of traffic loading for the State Police radio system, can the State provide the total number of State Police units that will be on the system?


The amount of DPS subscribers expected by the time the RFP is released would be in the range of 1000 to 1300 units.


29) Does the State have an interoperability plan in the OIT or a commencement of a plan to meet federal guidelines that can be shared with vendors?  If so, will the State please define their system interoperability requirements, if any?  Please provide details, including:  -Will there be agency to agency interoperability?  How will this be accomplished?  Will there be Statewide interoperability for first responders to these State systems?  If so, please State the functional requirements describing this process?  Has the State considered other interoperability solutions besides mutual aid or State frequencies?


At this time the State is compliant.  We have six channels for common frequencies.  Refer to MEMA’s website at the following URL:

30) Will there be a requirement for new Dispatch Communications Equipment for the four RCC locations? Are there any plans to consolidate any of the RCC locations? Will any of the RCC locations be home to Land Mobile Radio equipment? Are these RCC locations capable of housing Land Mobile Radio equipment if it increases an agency’s coverage footprint?


No. The Four RCCs are being upgraded with IPC consoles at this time.


No. The State is not planning to consolidate the RCC locations.


Yes. All of the RCC’s will be home to Land Mobile Radio equipment.


Yes. The RCC locations are capable of housing the equipment.


31) Does OIT plan to use a Design-Build (DB) approach or the traditional Design-Bid build (DBB) approach?


The State currently plans to issue a single RFP for the final design, installation, test, and maintenance support of, the entire, “turnkey” MSCommNet system.  This most closely resembles the Design Build approach.


32) Does OIT plan to develop a Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan?




33) What role does OIT plan to play with respect to the systems integrator?


The OIT will provide project management oversight of the MSCommNet project through its Radio Project Office.


Following Questions were asked at the 9/26/2006 vendor information meeting:


  1. Three possible methods for proceeding was mentioned, will the decision of how you will proceed be made prior to the RFP being released?

Yes, the decision will be made on a direction of construction prior to the RFP release.

  1. Explain the structure of the RFP?  Is it design only or design and construction?

It depends on the implementation approach selected. 

  1. You had mentioned municipal partnerships, what will be the policy, framework for partnerships and mechanism for communication?

Written communication using email with MSCommNet in the subject line.  The State team will use caution, around proprietary questions, which will be addressed.  However we will indicate the approach used to deal with the proprietary information.

  1. Please indicate what the key for the map in the presentation represents.

Magenta is the towers we believe need to be replaced.


Black are the existing towers that we believe are sufficient to be utilized.

Blue Squares are the Maine State Police regional communication centers.


Blue Boundary Lines represent to Maine State Police zones.

  1. What do you envision for the permitting process and local zoning for the project?

Presently DOT is tasked to do all of the site permitting and land acquisition via their legal department.  They have the experience and expertise in this area.

  1. Are the sites on the site map expected to accomplish the statewide system?

Yes, unless we have areas that are not sufficiently covered.

  1. Explain further how the private partnerships will work.

As we move forward a formal process will be created to consider how these partnerships will be implemented.

  1. If RFP comes out in January when will construction begin?

We are hoping for summer 2007, however we can’t guarantee this.  It is a competitive process and we may be held up with an appeal.

  1. The Executive Summary has a breakdown of costs.  There is $4million dollars indicated for the Radio Project Office.  Will the $4million dollar go with a vendor if they are awarded the project?

No, the $4million dollars is for overall management by OIT for the entire MSCommNet project for the duration.

  1. Is there a number of years that the project has to occur across in order to get the funding?

No there is no sunset on the funding and there is no timeframe for the completion of the project.  In all probability it will be three to five years.  In the event that we do not get the additional funding, we will use the $20million to stabilize existing infrastructure.  We will have to be sure not to strand investment.  We will know in the July timeframe if we have the rest of the funding.  We will put out the RFP with the assumption that we will receive all of the funding.

  1. Would you be willing to put the questions and answers up on the website?  This would open it up to municipalities

Yes, that would be a great idea. 

  1. Will you email the list of attendees?

We will distribute the list.

  1. What is the number one goal for this project?

For the Department of Public Safety to be able to communicate on the system with durability and efficiency.  When the trooper “keys the mike” it needs to work, and it needs to be redundant.  The current   expectation is that the State will maintain the system once it is place.