Friday, November 25, 2011

BayWEB Contract Documents Show $50 Million Stimulus Project at Risk of Cancellation

No Bid Procurement Contract for BayWEB Network, Negotiated in Secret, 
Released Here 11/25/2011 San Francisco - Key documents relating to the controversial $50 million stimulus-funded public safety wireless project called BayWEB demonstrate that the project is at high risk of funding cancellation by the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

BayWEB is one of only a handful of 700 MHz LTE public safety regional interoperable wireless systems to be funded to date by the federal government. It is the only such network funded by a federal agency -- the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce -- under which the grantee is a private sector company rather than a governmental body.

Since the fourth quarter of 2010, the project's grantee, Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI), joined by an ever-changing array of public entities slated to benefit from the project, have been holding non-public bilateral negotiations. Terms under discussion include equipment pricing, build out scheduling, eventual ownership conditions, operating subscriber costs, and the network design topology itself.

In simple terms, the key no-bid procurement contract for a $50 million federal grant-funded model wireless system has been negotiated in secret for a year. Earlier this week this publication launched its third round of requests, both informal and under provisions of the California Public Records Act (CPRA), to secure the current draft of the negotiated instrument called the Build, Operate, Own and Maintain Agreement (BOOM Agreement). 

This morning the draft BOOM Agreement dated November 21, and its existing Exhibits were released to this publication pursuant to our CPRA. The releasing agency is that of a county government which is a public member of the new entity, called BayRICS, which now manages the project along with MSI. The first draft of the BOOM Agreement, dated September 24, 2010 had been previously released by the former managing public agency, the Bay Area UASI, under a CPRA request made by the Office of Mayor Chuck Reed, of the City of San Jose.

The three documents are attached below. 

The most recent BOOM Agreement draft demonstrates that the BayWEB project remains at high risk of project cancellation by NTIA, given the scope of critical portions of the contract still under negotiations, and the tight project deadlines required by federal stimulus timelines.

We publish the documents here now, to be followed by our analysis, and by commentary from public parties to the negotiations, and from the industry. We publish now, given the significant industry concern expressed about the secret negotiations, lack of transparency around the process, and confidential criticism of the negotiations that have reached us from communications agency professionals here in the Bay Area.

BayWEB Draft BOOM Agreement - 11-22-2011
Draft BOOM Agreement 11-22-2011 - BayWEB Project

BayWEB Draft BOOM Agreement Exhibits - 11-22-2011
Draft BOOM Agreement - BayWEB Project - Exhibits 11-22-11

BayWEB Draft BOOM Agreement - 09-24-2010
Draft BOOM Agreement - BayWEB Project - 09-24-2010

The BayWEB Examination is our compendium of information on the project. We believe it is the most comprehensive such collection available. We have assembled links to all media coverage of the issue, to online documents secured by us from confidential and open sources, to documents secured by others and by this publication under federal and state public records filings, and to our own published reporting.

Note on awardee identification: The project grant was applied for by, and subsequently awarded to, the entity Motorola, Inc., formally traded as (NYSE: MOT). Motorola, Inc. was split into 2 new and separate companies, which both began trading on January 5, 2011.  The network infrastructure side of the business, all public safety equipment lines, and the network integration / management services divisions became Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI). We have retroactively re-tagged our BayWEB stories with the MSI ticker symbol.
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