The Falcon School District 49 Board of Education has approved a new contract with Falcon Broadband for district-wide telecommunications network services. The contract begins at the start of the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Brett Ridgway, D 49 chief business officer, said the contract with the district’s current provider, Trillion, will expire at the start of 2013-2014. Ridgway said the district began the request for proposal process in January.
The district received five bids from various companies, said Kjersti McKee, purchasing and procurement manager. “We required all the bidders to submit two volumes,” she said. “The first included references of past performance – and we called all those references; what the company was going to promise for supplies; response time for if we have an issue; service and tech support; and if we have a problem, what they will do for us.
“Volume two included a proposed cost; how the company was going to custom tailor their services and get those services installed for us. Only four out of the five made it to the second volume. After volume two was evaluated, Falcon Broadband clearly was the leader.”
The district wanted the evaluation on the two-volume bids to reveal the best company to achieve solutions to the district’s network problems and to find a company that could enhance the district’s current network, McKee said.
“Falcon Broadband is going to bury fiber, which is faster than the towers we were using with Trillion and Comcast (introduced in the district in the 2011-2012 school year),” McKee said. “Falcon Broadband’s bid was cheaper than just Trillion, even with all the construction they’ll have to do to bury the fibers.”
“Since we have an existing network in Falcon servicing hundreds of customers already, a lot of the infrastructure is already there,” said Ben Kley, general manager of Falcon Broadband. “We will be building into the schools, but we won’t have to start the project from scratch.”
“This contract will be for the next four, five, six years,” Ridgway said. “We’ll have better service now and the ability to have expanded service as we need it. We are putting a much greater focus on technology in the classroom, and the quality and quantity of our connectivity is a major factor.”
Kley and Ridgway both said the switch keeps revenue in the community.
“We weren’t just looking for the lowest cost or a local company,” Ridgway said.
The overall goal of the district was to find a company able to provide the necessary services at a price the district could afford. Selecting the bid from a local company was an added bonus.