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Burke Development Inc. Desires to Engage Internet Service Providers to Provide High Speed Internet to Portions of County

Burke County, NC (January 28, 2021) Burke Development Inc. (BDI) has received a $100,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to extend internet service to residential and business customers in unserved and underserved areas and is seeking a qualified Internet Service Provider (ISP) to provide broadband services and a 100% match for this grant

Project Description:

A Broadband Feasibility Study, completed in 2013 by ECC in Burke County showed that there are large areas of the rural areas in the county are either unserved or underserved. This is supported by a survey completed by over 1,000 residents (link to study) by the NC Broadband Infrastructure Office confirming their lack of service. While we understand this project will be limited in its total reach, the total unserved population is 15,000 residents in 9,000 households and approximately 1,100 businesses. The qualified ISP would be required to design, build operate and maintain a broadband network to provide data services. The ISP would be required to provide a minimum of $100,000 to match the ARC funds. Per ARC regulations, the EDC will own all equipment purchased with the grant and match funds for ten years, after which time the equipment will be transferred to the project ISP.

If permitted by state law and approved by Burke County Commissioners, the selected ISP may be offered access to vertical assets and other related infrastructure on a competitively neutral basis to assist with the deployment of broadband as it relates to the scope of services. See vertical asset map, (attachment A) at the end of this document. BDI will provide up to $2,500 in in-kind matching funds.

Scope of Services:

BDI is looking for a qualified ISP to design, build and maintain broadband infrastructure to connect unserved and underserved areas of Burke County. Method of internet service delivery shall be identified by the ISP in their proposal. The goal of this project is to provide affordable, adequate, high-speed internet access to as many unserved and underserved residents and businesses as possible with the funds as assets provided.

The selected ISP must display capacity to accomplish the following services:

  1. Design a network that is cost-effective and which provides redundancy
  2. Develop Environmental documents, project recommendations and cost estimates
  3. Prepare detailed design and construction plans, technical specifications and documents
  4. Act as project manager for all construction phases
  5. Provide on-site construction inspections and management
  6. Conduct systems performance tests
  7. Conduct final project inspections and prepare final construction report
  8. Maintain the equipment needed to provide retail broadband services to residential and business customers
  9. Provide management functions of the service provision, including sales, billing and customer service

Project Schedule

Proposal Submittal deadline:                                    March 2, 2021 5 P.M.                               

Contract with selected partner:                                March 31, 2021                                              

Project Design complete:                                          May 31, 2021                                                        

Project construction complete:                                December 31, 2021

Project Requirements

Proposal submissions must include:

  1. Description of the company, including location, number of employees, number of years of experience providing internet access, available resources and other information necessary to determine the capacity of the company to properly execute the work proposed
  2. Description of past company record of network reliability and customer satisfaction
  3. Business and technical plan describing the method to conduct the Scope of Services above
  4. Description of anticipated area to be served
  5. Anticipated service speeds provided to customers
  6. Description of anticipated area to be served
  7. Commitment of matching funds for the project
  8. Detailed timeline of project


The following criteria and associated importance will be used to evaluate proposals and select a partner:

  • Capability to perform all aspects of the project (15%)
  •  Ability to meet project schedule (10%)
  • Displayed history of network reliability and customer satisfaction (10%)
  • Cost-effectiveness of anticipated technology (5%)
  • Matching funds committed (10%)
  • Ability to offer service to the largest amount of unserved/underserved residents/businesses (10%)
  • Anticipated service speed (10%)
  • Capacity to supply and maintain the equipment installed (5%)
  • Relevant experience and expertise (5%)
  • Experience partnering with local governments and non-profits on projects (10%)
  • Experience working with Federal grant programs (5%)
  • Quality and responsiveness of proposal (5%)

The selected qualified partner will be invited to negotiate a contract with Burke Development Inc. Should BDI and the selected partner not be able to reach an agreement, BDI will then select another company. BDI reserves the right to discontinue the selection process at any time prior to the awarding of the contract

Proposal Submissions

Proposals must be received no later than 5:00 PM on March 2, 2021

Submit proposal to:

Burke County Broadband Project                                                                                                          

Burke Development Inc. (BDI)                                                                                                                                 

Alan D. Wood, President and CEO                                                                                                                             

2128 S Sterling Street Suite 150                                                                                                                   

Morganton NC 28655                                                                                                              


Faxed proposals will not be accepted. Proposals received after the closing date will not be reviewed.

Additional Information

Applicants may contact BDI President Alan Wood at 828-764-9372 for administrative questions or technical questions.

Reservation of Rights

This request for proposals does not commit BDI to award a contract, pay any costs incurred in the preparation of a response to this request or to procure or contract for services. BDI reserves the right to accept or reject any or all proposals received as a result of this request or to cancel in part or in the entirety this RFP. BDI reserved the right to undertake such investigation as it deems necessary to verify the qualification of the company for the project.

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