RESOLUTION RECOMMENDING MEMBERS SEEK AUTHORIZATION TO ENTER MASTER NETWORK DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS WITH AT&T

WHEREAS, staff from the Cities and Towns of Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem and Duke University, North Carolina State University, UNC Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University/Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center adopted the charter forming the NC Next Generation Network (NCNGN) Steering Committee in January 2013; and

WHEREAS, the Triangle J Council of Governments and the municipal members of NCNGN issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in February 2013 inviting vendors to submit proposals to develop the next-generation broadband infrastructure needed to meet the technological needs of current and future businesses, public institutions, educational institutions and local residents in each of the six participating municipalities; and

WHEREAS, the RFP sought vendors who, among other things, would create a gigabit, fiber network to foster innovation, drive job creation, stimulate economic growth, and serve new areas of development in the community; provide a flexible menu of optional retail services; use public-private assets to reduce the digital divide, enhance workforce knowledge and skills, and promote economic development; and provide high speed internet access at a substantial discount from current market prices; and

WHEREAS, the RFP also sought vendors willing to bear all of the capital, operating, and maintenance costs of the Network(s); and

WHEREAS, eight responses to the RFP were submitted and evaluated by NCNGN subcommittees, and

WHEREAS, vendors whose responses were considered viable based on the vendor’s willingness and ability to bear costs associated with the project or in need of further clarification were invited to discuss their proposals with the NCNGN Steering Committee; and

WHEREAS, AT&T was one of the vendors that was invited to clarify its initial response and it has since worked closely with NCNGN members to refine its proposal and develop an agreement for serving residents and businesses in all six municipalities with fiber optic based networks capable of delivering residents with broadband connections up to 1 gigabit per second and offering a variety of other retail services; and

WHEREAS, consistent with the economic development and digital inclusion goals outlined in the RFP, AT&T also proposed several community benefit initiatives including an agreement to provide free up to 1 gigabit per second service for 7 years for up to 100 community sites agreed upon by the parties in areas where the network is deployed, a plan to pre-wire up to 100 multi-tenant business buildings to lower costs for small and medium business owners, a targeted offer that would provide free low speed internet service to residents in up to 10 affordable multi-dwelling unit housing complexes, and an option for public Wi-Fi; and

WHEREAS, NCNGN has negotiated a draft Master Network Agreement that reflects AT&T’s proposal; and

WHEREAS, NCNGN staff has reviewed comparable publicly available agreements between municipalities and providers, and vetted the agreement with an outside consultant familiar with best practices and norms for similar types of arrangements; and

WHEREAS, based on the staff research and feedback from the consultant, the NCNGN members believe that the public benefits proposed by AT&T are on par with or better than those included in other recent precedent and AT&T’s terms offered in the Master Network Agreement are more favorable than those present in its agreements with other municipalities; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the proposed master agreement AT&T has indicated a desire to engage with community leaders and a variety of interested stakeholders and a willingness to work with NCNGN members towards the formation of an innovation council to identify ways to support the technological innovation that will be enabled by the network; and

WHEREAS, the pricing that AT&T has announced for gigabit services in other markets is competitive with pricing offered by other major providers of symmetrical up to 1 gigabit per second service and AT&T has indicated that it expects to offer residents in NCNGN communities pricing competitive, though not necessarily identical, with other markets; and

WHEREAS, AT&T has already begun engineering work and planning and expects to begin service in the Cities and Towns of Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem by the end of 2014 and in Durham by mid-2015, if not before; and

WHEREAS, the proposed agreement is non-exclusive and will not inhibit negotiations that any or all NCNGN member communities may choose to have with other vendors, and

WHEREAS, the NCNGN members believe that based on the aforementioned factors, the proposed Master Network Agreement with AT&T and community engagement anticipated during implementation will provide the potential for meaningful benefits to NCNGN communities and keep the Cities, Towns, and regions at the forefront of technological innovation; and

WHEREAS, the NCNGN Steering Committee serves as the conduit between NCNGN and the governing boards of the participating municipalities and universities and is expected to help coordinate efforts among participating municipalities on how best to utilize the new network(s);

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NCNGN Steering Committee recommends that each of the NCNGN municipal members seek authorization from their governing boards to enter into the Master Network Agreement with AT&T consistent with the conditions of this resolution.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that if member municipalities ratify the Master Network Agreements with AT&T, the NCNGN Steering Committee will continue to coordinate efforts related to utilization of the new networks and other tasks outlined in the Charter or terms of the Master Network Agreement(s) that mention the possibility of on-going coordination amo

An initiative to support educational and economic development by accelerating the deployment of ultra high-speed Internet access.