This week, Harnett County issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to identify potential partnerships with qualified existing or new broadband providers and other interested organizations to support the development of high-speed broadband infrastructure and services within all areas of the County.
This RFP is being released with the intent of generating interest from various entities wishing to use the County’s assets, to develop and implement new broadband services or enhance existing services, and who are willing to enter into a partnership with Harnett County to meet these objectives.
The County is seeking network solutions and business models that are innovative and prepare the region for future technological innovations while serving today’s needs for higher speeds, more complete coverage, and a wider range of choices for consumers.
Currently, the County is looking for partners to provide last-mile fiber to the premise or high-speed wireless suitable for broadband service to: residents, businesses, and community anchor institutions within its boundaries and throughout Harnett County. The County would like to see a special focus on their underserved and unserved constituents (business and residents with connection speeds less than the FCC broadband definition of 25 x 3 Mbps). There is very limited fixed wireless and fiber to the home based-services available in the County.
Harnett County Information Technology Director, Ira Hall, explained the goals of this initiative. “Harnett County plans to establish partnerships with interested providers for the betterment of the communities involved and for quality of life enhancements, create a competitive advantage for the County with respect to economic development, job creation, and growth opportunities, and provide a collaborative foundation to serve the area for the foreseeable future.”
Over the past 4 years, County leadership has been actively involved in documenting and assessing its broadband environment. Harnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Howard Penny Jr., emphasized the priority of broadband within the County. “Enhancing Harnett County's Broadband capabilities is essential not only for education but is the key for economic development. Broadband has been and will continue to be one of the top priorities of the Board of Commissioners."
In 2017, a Telecom Infrastructure Study was performed by a consultant, and a 2019 Broadband Assessment Campaign was designed and conducted by the same. As such, the County has gained unique insight into its broadband availability and competition levels within its borders. These studies determined the County has significant underserved and unserved areas in terms broadband service. To view the results of the Harnett County Broadband Assessment, visit http://www.harnett.org/publicinfo/downloads/harnett-county-broadband-report..pdf.
Interested partners can submit proposals through 12pm on August 18, 2020.