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LVCVA solidifies telecommunications agreement with Cox Communications amid RFP debates

The Las Vegas Convention Center and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) went ahead with its telecommunication services license agreement with Cox Communications despite concerns from its former longtime telecommunications provider, Smart City Networks.

ECN 092013_LVCVA logoAfter losing a 15-year working relationship with LVCVA, officials from Smart City Networks questioned LVCVA’s Request for Proposal (RFP) process – a process that is broken, according to Jim Pearson, chairman of Smart City Holdings.

“There were errors made by staff who calculated the RFP scores. Staff reported that Cox won. Cox didn’t win; Smart City did,” Pearson claimed. “One of the evaluators gave Cox scores greater than the maximum. The bottom line is that staff didn’t do their job, or they hid their mistakes.”

During the pre-selection, pre-scoring RFP process, one of five staffers evaluating the service bid between Cox Communications and Smart City Networks over scored Cox by five points each for two separate categories that had a maximum of 20 and 25. Rana Lacer, senior vice president of finance for LVCVA, addressed these overages. She explained that one evaluator over scored Cox in two categories but that final rankings still put Cox before Smart City Networks. Overall, Cox was awarded 438 points, and Smart City received 417 points.

“I was surprised Cox was selected. They haven’t done shows that I know of. If it’s not done correctly, [Smart City Networks] can appeal,” said Tom Collins, chairman of the board, LVCVA.

Cox provides telecommunications show floor service to hotels in Las Vegas, according to Steve Rowley, vice president of field operations, Cox Communications.

Smart City Networks also claimed that Cox leveraged its client list.

“Six of the convention centers Cox provided [as clients] are similar to Smart City’s,” said Martin A. Rubin, CEO and president, Smart City Holdings. “Wouldn’t you want to do business with a company that has real experience? It doesn’t sound like a good idea to do this contract.”

Despite Rubin’s words, LVCVA staff stuck to their guns.

“We spent time validating Cox’s experience and feel comfortable,” said Lacer.

In a last effort to get the Cox agreement terminated, Richard Bryan, a partner with Lionel Sawyer & Collins, spoke on behalf of Smart City Networks at the Sept. 10 LVCVA board of directors’ meeting.

“You are guardians of the authority. You are the final arbitrators, not your staff,” Bryan said. “You can investigate and could postpone the commencement date for the Cox contract.”

The board of directors voted to indefinitely table further discussion of terminating Cox’s contract.

A promoter of Southern Nevada on a worldwide scale, Las Vegas Convention Center and Visitors Authority manages the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and surrounding properties along with Cashman Center. Cox Communications will service LVCC and Cashman.

These services include:

  • Hardwired Internet networking services and equipment
  • Hardwired voice services
  • Private network options
  • Wi-Fi based wireless Internet Services
  • TV services
  • All floor work associated with the extension of telecommunications and networking services
  • Interior Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the Las Vegas Convention Center
  • New or emerging technologies or services
  • Interior and exterior Non-DAS cell sites


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