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City seeks new wireless bidding
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    The City of Statesboro will have to wait a little longer for a city-wide wireless network to be deployed as the city council voted Wednesday to seek an additional round of proposal submissions.
    At the called council meeting, the mayor and council went right to executive session, which lasted for about an hour. After the session, the council voted unanimously to reissue the request for proposal, citing the need to make sure the selection process is seen to be fair to all parties.
    Georgia code requires that municipalities use competitive bidding for the procurement of goods and services when they exceed $100,000. Once bids are taken and considered, if submitted proposals are considered unreasonable or unacceptable then a contract can be negotiated with a qualified party “provided that each responsible bidder who submitted such a bid under the original solicitation is notified of the determination and is given a reasonable opportunity to negotiate.”
    Originally the meeting was scheduled to discuss the rough draft of a contract with Clearwire to implement a Wi-MAX wireless network in Statesboro. The city’s wireless consultant, Karl Edwards, who helped the city obtain grant monies for the project, negotiated with Clearwire after the council voted to set aside the wireless proposals received during the RFP process last fall on recommendations from Edwards and an internal city committee.
    Representatives from Digitel Corporation and Frontier Communications contacted city officials and the Herald expressing concern that the initial RFP did not contain all the necessary information for the companies to submit an accurate proposal. That prompted council to reopen the bid process.
    In January 2008, the city was awarded a $323,000 grant from the Wireless Communities Georgia Program, a program started by Governor Sonny Perdue to assist communities in implementing city-wide wireless networks. These networks can assist police in accessing information in a more efficient and cost effective manner, allow firefighters to obtain building schematics over the Internet while at the site of an emergency, give building and infrastructure officials to ability to view schematic drawings on-site and even provide Internet access to a portion of the low-income community.
    The Herald reported yesterday that Wi-MAX speeds would be approximately 2 Mbps upload and .5 Mbps download. It should have read 2 Mbps download and .5 Mbps upload.
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