THE Penang government will hold a new request for proposal (RFP) to upgrade the free WiFi services in the state, after the first RFP has been deemed as ‘too stringent’ by interested parties.
State Public Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the state government would call for a new RFP in June.
“We received five bids for the first RFP, but we found that they did not meet the specifications that we set and the reason is that the specifications set were too stringent.
“An RFP should not be too stringent because people should be freer to propose things.
“As such, the next RFP will be less stringent,” he told a recent press conference at Muntri Street.
Zairil said the state would also seek proposals from major telecommunications companies in the second round.
“Most of the firms told us that they did not have sufficient time to prepare for the RFP and had missed the first deadline.
“The operators wanted more time to come up with a proposal for the state.
“Since none of the five could meet the minimum specifications, we are going to re-tender it and hopefully, more telecommunications companies will submit their bids.
“We will have a new RFP with terms of reference that are less stringent. We will still maintain minimum requirements, but they won’t be too stringent,” he said.
Zairil said the state had been paying RM120,000 each month for the Penang Free WiFi that has now been discontinued,” he said, noting that the usage was poor and quality questionable.
“The state is still intent on providing free WiFi services throughout the state but it must be of good quality and at a lower cost for the state.
“In the new RFP, we are hoping to get proposals where we do not have to pay anything or pay very little for the service.
“We will finalise the RFP with new specifications and terms of reference by end of this month and will open it hopefully by June,” he said.
The Penang Free WiFi services launched in 2009 was discontinued indefinitely from Feb 12 this year after a survey found that its services were far from satisfactory.
It was reported that there had been a high number of complaints on the WiFi services and that the cost to maintain did not commensurate with the quality of services.
The state government then decided to rebrand the services with a RFP for creative and innovative ideas from companies involved in telecommunications infrastructure.