Decatur, GA seeks ISP to run municipal wireless network

The City of Decatur has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to upgrade, operate and maintain the city’s existing municipal WiFi network. The network currently serves educational, residential, commercial, and municipal customers within the City of Decatur boundaries. The city needs the Proposer to:

(a) make recommendations about how to modify the existing network to improve performance and stability and to focus on those areas that can be served reliably;

(b) provide marketing and customer acquisition services;

(c) operate, maintain and support the network that currently serves educational, residential, commercial, and municipal customers within the City of Decatur boundaries.

The city owns the network, which consists of approximately 170 Cisco 1500 nodes (including spares) as well as about 102 PTP backhaul links.

History of Decatur’s municipal wireless network

In November 2006, Decatur built a municipal wireless network using a grant from the Wireless Communities Georgia (through the State of Georgia and the Georgia Technology Authority). The city used approximately $500,000 of the grant for the creation of the network, plus other funds from the City Schools of Decatur, Agnes Scott College, Columbia Theological Seminary and the Downtown Development Authority. A private Internet Service Provider was selected in 2007 to operate the network. Currently, the ISP provides 2 consecutive hours of free service in addition to a fee service across the service area.

Previous article on MuniWireless about the Decatur municipal wireless network:

Decatur, Georgia seeks ISP to run municipal wireless network (2006): initial RFP issued by Decatur for the deployment of the network.

Decatur’s demographics and economy

Decatur has almost 20,000 residents in an area of 4.2 square miles (11 square kilometers). The daytime population is roughly 30,000. In addition, there are 1050 businesses plus 1350 students at the following institutions:

  • Agnes Scott College: 850 students
  • Columbia Theological Seminary: 500 students

The City provides a full range of municipal services including police and fire protection, municipal court, building inspections and permitting, public works operations, refuse collection, street sweeping, engineering, parks and recreation, operation of a municipal cemetery, community and economic development and general administrative services. Decatur is the seat of DeKalb County, a large, urban county in the Atlanta metropolitan area. With its central location within the county and as the location of county offices and the court system, Decatur’s economy is primarily a service economy. Legal, banking, medical, insurance, accounting, governmental and educational services are the mainstay of this economy.

Download the RFP to view requirements and deadlines

Responses to the RFP are due on 1 July 2011. The deadline for questions from Proposers is 20 June 2011. There are other deadlines to be met and those are in the RFP document which I have posted on Scribd.