RFI2 Partnerships Are Key to Completing the MMBI Network

November 29, 2023 – During the year, CDT’s Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative secured contracts to construct, lease, and purchase approximately 83% of the Middle-Mile Broadband Network (MMBN), resulting in faster construction and access to critical middle-mile connection points. Opportunities exist for additional provider and community partnerships to bring middle-mile connections to more communities sooner. To expedite the delivery of the MMBN, CDT released a second Request for Innovative Ideas (RFI²) solicitation, a procurement vehicle that seeks innovative ideas to solve a well-defined problem statement, then selects a solution provider based on their ability to demonstrate its effectiveness. 

The RFI2 concept was first introduced in 2019 when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that created the new procurement method by asking for solutions to test in response to the wildfire challenges in California. The vision of this methodology is to leverage the innovative vendor, academic, scientific, and entrepreneurial communities to solve the State’s most pressing challenges. 

The new RFI² solicitation will include all remaining 650 network miles not currently contemplated in any existing construction, lease, or purchase contracts or master agreements. CDT is focused on identifying and partnering on any segments of the MMBI network miles located in dense urban areas that will minimize the community and traffic disruptions associated with construction and accelerate the pace of development. CDT will review proposals on any of the remaining MMBI network miles identified in the RFI² solicitation. 

The new RFI² solicitation has been posted, and Innovative Concept Papers (the first part of the RFI² process), are due by January 26, 2024. Local stakeholders often know best which providers have a presence that might facilitate these partnerships and should encourage provider participation in this RFI² solicitation.  

CDT’s goal is to maximize participation for the remaining MMBI network miles to bring connectivity to unserved communities throughout California sooner.