Tilson Reverse Auction Software Speeds RFP Evaluations for New NY Broadband Program

Tilson has acquired a great deal of knowledge as it has grown into a leading network deployment and technology services company, know-how that qualifies its staff to judge the network construction capabilities of other providers.

In 2015, Tilson was asked to assist with grantee selection for the New NY Broadband Program, a $500 million investment in universal broadband deployment. The Program sets as a requirement for service a goal of 100 Mbps download speeds, with 25 Mbps acceptable in the most remote and rural areas of the state.

Tilson’s understanding of public policy issues was particularly important in being selected. Leaning on that expertise, they helped the state think through everything from the intricacies of outlining a public program to maximizing the chance that companies will respond, and from compliance issues to coordinating state and federal communications requirements.

Challenge

Opportunities such as this generate a lot of interest, and the staff at the Broadband Program Office knew that they didn’t have the resources to manually examine the volume of applications that they anticipated receiving. Furthermore, the unique requirements that needed to be measured called for a custom solution. Complicating the challenge was the aggressive timetable; the Program is intended to have the projects completed in 2018.

Solution

Tilson combined its expertise in network deployment with application development to create a “reverse auction” system that analyzed the financial details projected in each application. Data from “Applicant Workbooks” are imported into a database, and auction results and reporting are controlled through a simple but effective use interface.

In addition to vetting the economics, Tilson engineers performed technical reviews to verify the capabilities of the vendor and the proposed scope of work, and field staff conducted site visits to validate the work.

Broadband for All

Tilson evaluated more than 100 applications proposing a variety of fiber optic, cable and wireless solutions during Rounds I and II of the program. The reverse auctions in these rounds resulted in 79 awards totaling almost $266 million. The New NY Broadband Program launched Phase III of the initiative in March 2017, the next step in reaching the goal of connecting all New Yorkers. Phase III will incorporate special auction rules required to take advantage of a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) waiver that permits New York State to simultaneously auction state funds along with as much as $170 million in FCC Connect America Fund (CAF) commitments to further expand broadband in New York.

So far, approximately 126,000 homes, businesses and institutions in unserved and underserved communities have been funded through the Program to receive new or dramatically improved broadband service, and New York is well on its way to reaching its ultimate goal – “broadband for all.”

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