REQUEST FOR QUALIFICATIONS
Public-Private Partnership for Deployment
of Fiber-based Broadband Services
Purpose of the Request
The Town of Berthoud ("the Town") is seeking qualified and experienced private entities ("Respondents") to participate in a public-private partnership (PPP) to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) or similar structure that establishes a long-term arrangement between the government entity and private sector institutions. The partnership will be designed to harness private capital financing to (1) build broadband infrastructure and (2) be responsible for providing the internet service, either by the Respondent providing the service itself and/or leasing the infrastructure to internet service providers (ISP) within the Town's jurisdiction. It is the Town’s intent to provide an open-access network, of which there are multiple ISPs operating in Berthoud on the fiber infrastructure; this means that Respondents are welcome to propose solutions to build infrastructure and provide the service, and there will be an expectation that they, as part of the SPV, will be responsible for leasing the infrastructure to other ISPs as well. The objective of this RFQ is to identify potential partners capable of collaborating through an SPV to bring high-quality, reliable, and affordable broadband services that enhance digital connectivity and economic development.
This request seeks market interest to establish a PPP with a qualified partner to create an SPV for the design, financing, construction, operation, and maintenance of a state-of-the-art fiber-based broadband network. The SPV will serve as the vehicle through which the partnership's activities will be managed, facilitating a structured and effective collaboration. This request is intended to provide an opportunity for the Town to work with a qualified partner to create an open-access system that:
- Increases competition, resulting in lower consumer prices and/or increased quality of services
- Adds critical fiber infrastructure to the Town that will be necessary for the community’s quality of life in the future
- Provides high-quality, reliable, and affordable internet service to all community members in Berthoud
- Offers options for financial support to low-income residents through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The Town of Berthoud is a growing community on Colorado’s north front range situated between Fort Collins and Denver along the I-25 corridor. The Town’s population is approximately 12,710, with roughly 798 residents per square mile (2021 US Census data). There are 5,249 total premises within the Town. The Town’s major business industries include aerospace, bioscience, energy, health & wellness, and IT software. With a quaint downtown, boutique shops, excellent schools and amenities, and a central location, Berthoud is quickly becoming a hub for residential, commercial, and industrial development.
Like many other communities across the country, Berthoud recognizes the critical need for reliable and high-speed internet connectivity for all of its residents and businesses. As technology advancements continue to shape the way we live and communicate, access to fast and reliable broadband service has become increasingly essential for education, business growth, healthcare, and overall quality of life.
While the Town desires essential internet services for the residents and businesses of Berthoud, the Town seeks a partner to share the capital resources required to build and operate the network. The Town Board has publicly discussed an investment ranging from $2-$5M. As a result, this RFQ was created to explore innovative partnership solutions that will bring access and equity to Berthoud’s digital landscape.
The Town intends to establish a PPP with a qualified partner through an SPV for the design, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance of a fiber-based broadband network throughout the Town. The project scope includes, but is not limited to:
- Deploying the fiber optic infrastructure, including last-mile connectivity to all homes, businesses, and public facilities throughout the Town.
- Overseeing the provision of high-speed internet services meeting or exceeding industry standards, either by the Respondent providing services itself and/or leasing to other ISPs with the intent that two or more ISPs are offered in Berthoud.
- Ensuring the implementation of dependable customer support and service quality measures.
- Innovation and flexibility to adapt to future technological advancements and changing needs.
Respondents interested in participating in the PPP through an SPV for fiber-based broadband services must meet the following qualification requirements:
- Legal Eligibility: The Respondent must be a legally registered entity eligible to operate within the jurisdiction of Berthoud, Colorado, or demonstrate the ability to obtain business licensing in Colorado.
- Relevant Project Experience: The Respondent should demonstrate a successful track record in constructing broadband infrastructure and, if proposing to operate the service as well, the Respondent should demonstrate experience in operating fiber internet services of similar scale and complexity.
- Technical Expertise: The Respondent must possess the technical capacity to design, construct, and maintain a state-of-the-art broadband network.
- Financial Capability: The Respondent must provide evidence of financial stability and access to sufficient resources to fund the proposed project.
- SPV Experience: The Respondent should showcase their experience establishing an SPV or a similar ownership structure to execute a similar project.
- Compliance: The Respondent should adhere to all relevant legal, regulatory, and environmental requirements.
- Local Engagement: The Respondent should outline plans for engaging with local communities and stakeholders throughout the project.
Interested parties should submit a Qualifications Package containing the following information:
- Cover Letter: A brief introduction of the Respondent, its interest in the project, and acknowledgment of the SPV model.
- Company Profile: Overview of the Respondent's history, organizational structure, and core competencies. Include resumes of key personnel who will execute the project.
- Technical Experience: Description of relevant projects, including locations, scope, and outcomes for similar projects that demonstrate proven experience in this industry.
- Financial Information: Documentation of the Respondent's financial stability and investment sharing model based on the Town’s potential investment of $2-5M. Please identify the initial terms of what the Respondent would request to establish the SPV.
- Implementation Plan: High-level timeline for project deployment, operation, and maintenance oversight through the SPV.
- Experience with SPV or similar models: Explanation of the Respondent's prior or current experience with the SPV or a similar model. Please describe the Respondent’s envisioned governance structure. Include examples from relevant project locations, scope, and outcomes.
- Local Engagement Strategy: Outline how the Respondent plans to collaborate with local stakeholders and communities.
- References: Contact information for references who can validate the Respondent's qualifications and capabilities.
Submission Deadline and Review Process
Completed Qualifications Packages must be submitted electronically to Walt Elish, on or before 12:00 pm MT on October 4, 2023. Proposals that are submitted after the due date will not be accepted.
The review and interview process is anticipated to be completed in about two weeks following the Proposal submittal deadline. The Town may select a Respondent directly from the RFQ submittal and may execute a formalized Letter of Intent (LOI) with the selected Respondent.
Qualification submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- Relevant Experience: Past experience in deploying and operating fiber-based broadband networks. Highlight examples of projects that have delivered access to all members of the community.
- Technical Expertise: Possess the technical capacity to design, construct, and maintain a state-of-the-art broadband network.
- Financial Capability: Demonstrated financial stability and capacity to fund the project.
- Experience with SPV: Clarity in and experience with effectively utilizing the SPV model.
- Local Engagement: Quality of the strategy to engage with local communities and stakeholders.
- Commitment to Access: Intent and ability to provide broadband access to every household in Berthoud.
For any inquiries or clarifications related to this RFQ, please contact Walt Elish at .
The Town reserves the right to modify the RFQ timeline or cancel the process at any stage without incurring any liability. Any PPP agreement, including the Exclusive Right to Negotiate agreement, is subject to the review and approval of the Berthoud Board of Trustees.
Please direct all questions via email to Walt Elish . Town staff are available during the RFQ process to answer questions.