The controversial Sequester, which effected federal budget cuts across the board, may slow the funding for a DAS deployment at a federal facility in Virginia.
Green Mountain, a New Hampshire-based integrated communication solutions provider, partnered with SOLiD to win the bid to engineer, furnish and install a neutral-host DAS that will provide wireless coverage and capacity for the 3-million square-foot facility. But no sooner had they won the award than the budget cuts kicked in to delay some of the funding.
“Sequestering squelched the budget,” said Chris Graff, SOLiD northeast regional sales manager. “Luckily, we have enough work with the first purchase order. Most of the heavy lifting gets done in the first P.O., because it includes the hoteling of the BTS [base transceiver station] and the headend. Because fiber is already run between the buildings and SOLiD’s DAS is scalable, remotes and antennas can be added to the buildings over time.”
Originally, the project was to be completed by October 2013, but that completion date is now in limbo. Only a portion of the system will be completed by October and a new round of funding will be needed by the end of the year. As a result, the project will have to be completed in segments, several buildings at a time, and funded by multiple purchase orders.
The goal of the project is enhancement and upgrading of an aging DAS, which was eight to 10 years old and not meeting today’s standards for data speeds and throughput. The multi-phase project comprises six ten-story office towers, two townhouses and several other outlying buildings. The new DAS will support 3G/4G/LTE frequencies and provide increased coverage within existing buildings and extend coverage to other outlying buildings.
Green Mountain and SOLiD responded to the RFP in November 2012. The project, which only provides indoor coverage, has been kicked off and is underway, beginning with the main facility where the headend and base station hotel will be located. Designing the system has also proven to be a challenge, according to Graff.
“There were multiple design revisions based on the different structure types. While the majority of the buildings are traditional office space, it is a mix of building types: some have large atria, plus there are underground spaces, large parking structures, townhouses and retail spaces,” he said.
The system will use SOLiD’s Alliance multicarrier platform, and Link Balancer Unit interface between the carrier’s BTS and the DAS. The RFP only called for commercial services, because there is a public safety system already in place in the federal facility. So far, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint have agreed to provide service over the DAS.
“We are seeing an uptick in projects where public safety is required to ride on the commercial DAS,” Graff said, “and a handful of DAS RFPs have come out that are public safety driven.”
The government’s budget woes will not deter SOLiD from taking on federal work; in fact, the vendor is currently working to secure a couple more government contracts, according to Graff.