RFP by Eastgate Regional Council of Governments for an Engineering Analysis
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
I. Project Overview
The Eastgate Region consisting of Ashtabula, Mahoning, and Trumbull Counties (“Eastgate”), along with Columbiana County (collectively the “Counties”) is home to over 620,000 people of which over 112,157 do not have internet access.
Given the importance of digital equity and a commitment to eliminating the digital divide in the region, the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments issued a Request for Proposals in September 2020, seeking the services of a consultant or firm to perform a Regional Broadband Feasibility Study (the “Feasibility Study”) focused on providing enhanced and reliable internet service to rural areas lacking appropriate coverage, as well as urban centers that require increased speed and access. Ice Miller Whiteboard and ms consultants, inc. were awarded the RFP and began work on the Feasibility Study in November 2020. Completed in June 2021, the Feasibility Study is available for respondents’ review at: https://eastgatecog.org/docs/default-source/economic-development/eastgate-regional-broadband-feasibility-study-final-version.pdf.
The Feasibility Study provided a series of recommendations to help eliminate the digital divide in the Eastgate region by providing access, without interruption, to reliable high-speed broadband internet. This RFP is being issued to further the region’s digital equity and inclusion goals.
Regional Middle Mile Backbone Network
Eastgate has prioritized the Feasibility Study recommendation to enable greater fiber-based connectivity for residents and businesses in the region by the establishing a Lake (Erie) to River (Ohio) regional backbone middle-mile fiber line utilizing Ohio Department of Transportation (“ODOT”) right-of-way (“ROW”) along State Route 11 (the “Lake to River Corridor”), supplemented with connectivity along the Ohio Turnpike, Rt. 88, Rt. 224, Rt. 304, and Rt. 305, and others, to ensure additional last-mile broadband service to municipalities and townships, expanding off of the regional backbone.
According to InnovateOhio, Ohio’s network of roads, bridges and highways is the state’s most valuable physical asset.1 ODOT controls limited access and non-limited access ROW. On limited access ROW, ODOT has sole authority and discretion to allow occupancy/use. On non-limited access ROW, outside of municipal boundaries, ODOT has sole authority and discretion to allow occupancy/use; however, inside of municipal boundaries, the municipality typically controls such access.2 State route 11 is considered “limited access” ROW (all respondents to this RFP shall anticipate frequent interfacing with ODOT for St. Rt. 11’s use).
1 State of Ohio, Department of Transportation, Digital Infrastructure Assets and Strategy (last visited July 15, 2022), https://innovateohio.gov/wps/wcm/connect/gov/f8f7a5bf-2880-4113-aab9-42687d7da705/Broadband+RFI.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=mYuZkT0.
RFP for Middle Mile Engineering Analysis
This RFP is for an Engineering Analysis for such a fiber line utilizing the Ohio Department of Transportation (“ODOT”) ROW along SR11 in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties. Ashtabula, Trumbull, and Mahoning Counties are part of ODOT District 4 and Columbiana County is part of ODOT District 11.
It is Eastgate’s main intent through this RFP to obtain an engineering analysis for placing fiber along St. Rt. 11 ROW. Said fiber placement will benefit Eastgate and ODOT, including residents, businesses, community institutions, government, overall economic development, and catalyze innovation. Eastgate desires to create an environment that serves the Eastgate members’ current and future technology needs, and establishes a platform that supports and facilitates existing, as well as new ISP, telecommunications carrier, and data center services in the Eastgate region.
Deadline for submissions is Monday August 8th at 2:00 PM.
CLICK HERE to read the complete RFP
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