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BlueGovTech Negotiates Quarter of a Million Dollar Incentive Package for FCPS to Migrate to FirstNet

In response to legislation, increased officer safety, local initiatives, and best practices, law enforcement agencies are increasing their reliance on technology networks and physical devices. In September, Fort Collins Police Services (FCPS) hired BlueGovTech as the project manager for a large-scale project aimed at increasing officer safety by increasing network connectivity so officers can get real time information, essential for safely responding to incidents.

Project Goals

  • Facilitate the purchase and deployment of 200+ in-vehicle Sierra Wireless XR90 Routers, which will provide staff dual cellular wireless networks.

  • Evaluate current Verizon account and through a formal Request for Information (RFI) process, negotiate with service providers to get best possible offers.

  • Complete network testing in the City of Fort Collins, testing the network coverage of service providers who responded to RFI.

  • Leverage current agency Microsoft 365 applications to build and deploy a technology dashboard to inventory, track, and assign all components of the project.

Project Barriers

  • Each Sierra Wireless unit costs the agency approximately $4,055, which includes the cost for all physical hardware, installation, and funding for project management staff. For 200 vehicles, this would cost the agency $811,000.

  • Through funding requests, the City of Fort Collins provided FCPS $392,997 to complete the project, leaving a shortfall of $418,003.

  • The City of Fort Collins has historically only utilized Verizon as their sole cellular service provider.

  • There is no additional funding available for the project.

The following outlines the progression of this project, and the steps taken by BlueGovTech towards meeting the project goals.

Step 1: Current Status

  • This included a complete review the current lines of service and pricing currently included in the monthly Verizon bills for FCPS.

  • Meeting with financial staff to determine the annual budget for cellular service.

Step 2: Service Provider Negotiations

  • FirstNet, Built with AT&T and T-Mobile both responded to the RFI and BlueGovTech spent extensive time with representatives from both providers to accomplish the following:

  • The available cellular plans and pricing.

  • Negotiating incentive packages from both providers, if FCPS were to leave Verizon.

Step 3: City of Fort Collins Network Coverage

  • Utilizing the same equipment FCPS was going to purchase for their vehicles, BlueGovTech covered approximately 120 miles of roadway in the City of Fort Collins, testing and mapping the network coverage of FirstNet and T-Mobile.

Step 4: Evaluation

  • Based on the data provided from Verizon, FirstNet, and T-Mobile, BlueGovTech completed a financial analysis report outlining the following:

    • If the agency stays with Verizon, what the cost would be to purchase equipment (Sierra Wireless Units) and the annual cost to increase their lines of service to equip each Sierra Wireless Unit with Verizon service.

    • If the agency migrated to FirstNet or T-Mobile, what the annual cost would be for all lines of service and any financial incentives which would allow the agency to purchase more equipment.

  • Network coverage maps, showing FCPS executive staff the network coverage in the City of Fort Collins, utilizing the same equipment they would be purchasing.

By actively negotiating with both FirstNet and T-Mobile, BlueGovTech was able to encourage both providers to provide their most competitive offers to earn the business of FCPS. This resulted in FirstNet and T-Mobile offering:

  • Rate plans which were less than what FCPS was currently paying to Verizon.

  • Eliminating any fees associated with canceling lines of service, which Verizon was currently charging the agency for.

  • Substantial one-time credits to offset the cost of purchasing additional Sierra Wireless units.

Step 5: Implementation

  • Following a review of all available information FCPS Executive Staff elected to migrate all cellular service from Verizon to FirstNet and utilizing T-Mobile as a backup service provider. This decision meant:

    • All current staff would get a new upgraded iPhone.

    • Every Sierra Wireless unit deployed in vehicles would utilize FirstNet as the primary network and T-Mobile as a backup network.

    • Based on negotiations between BlueGovTech and FirstNet representatives, the agency would get a one-time credit of approximately $227,000 to offset the cost to buy additional Sierra Wireless units

    • Based on a lower rate plan, FCPS would be able to invest the cost saving to purchase additional equipment with no additional funding

Project Takeaways

  • By leveraging the buying power of the City of Fort Collins, FCPS was able to get the most competitive offers available from cellular service providers. This will result in the agency having multi carrier coverage, more equipment, and updated technology while also saving the agency approximately $114,000 annually, compared with what they would have been paying for the same level of service from Verizon.

  • The agency will receive over a quarter of a million-dollar incentive package from FirstNet.

  • By utilizing the funds from the incentive package and cost savings, FCPS will be able to purchase and deploy 189 Sierra Wireless units by Q2 of 2024 with no additional funding.

  • Each Sierra Wireless unit will provide first responders with dual network coverage, increasing their connectivity.

  • By joining FirstNet, FCPS will be part of a dedicated First Responder broadband network, backed by the Federal Government and access to a dedicated fleet of 76+ portable network assets.

Additional Project Highlights

  • BlueGovTech built leverage the Microsoft 365 tools already included in the agency's subscriptions to build on online dashboard through PowerApps. This was utilized to track each line of service, all vehicles, and physical equipment associated with the project.

  • BlueGovTech build a scheduling platform to allow every user to schedule a date/time to meet with on-site FirstNet during a two, one-week deployment sessions, allowing users to decommission their old device and get set up on their new iPhone.

  • BlueGovTech sourced and sold the agency cellphone cases and screen protectors at a discounted rate, not available through other vendors.

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