The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has issued a Request for Proposals from broadband network operators to operate, manage, market, maintain and extend the current approximately 1,100 mile MassBroadband 123 Network.

The MassTech Network is a state-owned, open-access, carrier-grade, middle-mile telecommunications network that became operational in early 2014. The network consists of 952 miles of constructed fiber, 192 miles of leased fiber, and strand counts on the backbone that vary between 72 and 288 strands. 

MassTech is conducting an open, competitive procurement process to select an operator, and proposals will be evaluated according to a combination of technical and financial criteria. Proposals are due on September 9, and a video conference will be held on July 27. The award date is anticipated to be on October 31.

The Massachusetts group wants to enter into a 15-year contract in which the selected operator will have the right to operate a wholesale and retail business, and invest in and expand beyond the existing network. 

MassTech is an independent public instrument of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts chartered by the Commonwealth to serve as a catalyst for growing its innovation economy. 

Federal broadband funding

We’re likely to see many more RFPs as states gear up to accept federal broadband funds, stemming from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA).

Available funds include the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, the $1 billion Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure program as well as the $1.5 billion State Digital Equity Act program.

Last week the city council of Mesa, Arizona, voted to approve four different providers to build an open access network to serve its more than 220,000 homes and businesses in the greater Phoenix area.

The city council had put out a Request for Information (RFI), and then it accepted four companies: SiFi Networks, Google Fiber, Wyyerd and Generate Ubiquity.