China broadband members adopt two motions

by Mary Grow

China Broadband Committee members unanimously adopted two motions on the agenda for their Dec. 16 meeting. Both required approval from China selectmen, who postponed action on the major one.

The major committee action was acceptance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for expanded broadband service in China, prepared by consultants Mission Broadband. The 27-page RFP and supporting documents are posted under the Broadband Committee on the China website,

The RFP, to be distributed as widely as possible, invites interested parties to propose ways to provide improved and expanded internet access. All technologies will be considered. One of the accompanying documents is a scoring matrix intended to help Mission Broadband personnel compare replies.

Consultants and committee members planned on selectmen’s approval Dec. 21 and distribution of the RFP Monday, Dec. 28. The deadline for submitting bids is 3:45 p.m., Jan. 31, 2021. They expect potential bidders to have questions and are allowing time for answers.

However, not all selectmen received the draft before the afternoon of Dec. 21. With so little time to review it, they postponed action to a special meeting scheduled for Dec. 28.

Broadband Committee members agreed that, if selectmen approved on Dec. 28, distribution Dec. 29 would give bidders adequate time.

Mark van Loan from Mission Broadband said assuming a proposal is recommended by the committee, put on the May 18 annual town business meeting agenda by the selectmen and approved by voters, work could begin by July 2021.

The second motion on the Dec. 16 Broadband Committee agenda was to ask selectmen to choose one of their number to serve on the Broadband Committee. At the Dec. 21 selectmen’s meeting, Selectman Irene Belanger volunteered and was promptly accepted.

The next Broadband Committee meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11.

Selectmen approve RFP

China selectmen unanimously approved the Broadband Committee’s RFP at their Dec. 28 meeting, after 10 minutes of clarifications. Board Chairman Ronald Breton wanted assurance the contract issued to a successful bidder would include financial incentives to finish the work completely and on time; and Selectman Wayne Chadwick wanted a guarantee of lower rates for broadband users, for at least the first few years, after an improved system was in place.

Broadband Committee Chairman Robert O’Connor said John Dougherty of MissionBroadband told him the organization’s standard recommended contracts include penalties for missing the final deadline and withholding of full payment until work is completed.

The question of guaranteed rates would now be part of discussions with bidders, O’Connor said.


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