Mayor offers conflicting statements on Internet procurement process - Feb. 10, 2014
St. Stephen town council’s decision to approve a motion to sign an agreement with Bell Aliant to provide internet and information services for the Garcelon Civic Center was challenged by a resident at the last council meeting.
David Hyslop politely told council he was “very surprised” at the council’s decision to go with Bell Aliant without entertaining presentations from other providers.
Hyslop said he used to work for Bell Aliant and had nothing against the company, but said even he shopped around when he needed Internet services to find the best deal.
“We did,” responded Mayor John Quartermain. “We put it out to tender. There was a mandatory site visit and nobody else came.”
However, that statement contradicts one the mayor made Dec. 4 following a presentation to council by Bell Aliant representatives. At the time the mayor was asked if the town was considering proposals from any other Internet providers.
Quartermain, at the time stated he didn’t expect the town to entertain any more presentations from other Internet providers because BellAliant is the only one with FibreOp capabilities and the town wants the civic centre to have the most up to date technology available.
In December, representatives George Clark from BellAliant and Matt Ross from 3D datacomm delivered a power point presentation to a working session of council during which they proposed installing public access internet, white boards in meeting rooms and digital signs throughout public areas to direct and inform civic centre patrons.
At the time Clark said because BellAliant has offered to become the exclusive telecommunications provider for the civic centre it was also offering to provide its FibreOp Internet and television services at no charge for two years, a $9,000 total value.
Clark said his company was recommending an award-wining Aruba Network solution for the civic centre. He said the program set the standard for high performance, ease of use and support for multimedia data, voice and video applications, and would provide wireless coverage throughout the facility.
The installation charge for the Aruba Network, which includes a five day training period for staff, was quoted in December at $25,457.00 with an annual charge of $2,097.08.
Clark said the installation of the most modern technology will provide the civic centre with revenue generating benefits from the conferences and meetings it hosts whose participants will expect and appreciate the features available.
Council’s motion at its January meeting was to enter into two agreements with Bell Aliant. The first was a purchase agreement in the amount of $127,484.07 for the provision of equipment and services as outlined in its proposal and the second involves a sponsorship agreement for the provision of internet and television services for a two year period as outlined in the December proposal.