Interior Wants Wi-Fi for Burning Man

Burning Man participants walk on the playa at the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nev.

Burning Man participants walk on the playa at the Black Rock Desert near Gerlach, Nev. Brad Horn/AP File Photo

Even temporary cities/arts festivals need networks for government and law enforcement operations.

Every year, a city appears from nothing in the Nevada desert, briefly becoming the state’s seventh largest community before disappearing like Brigadoon. Unlike the mythical city, however, this one will have Wi-Fi.

The Burning Man festival will return to Black Rock City, Nevada from Aug. 26 to Sept. 3, and the Interior Department—which manages the public land—is looking for a vendor to provide network infrastructure and support for law enforcement working the event.

The “contractor must provide layer 2 and/or layer 3 network design, configuration and hardware, which will allow for configuration and creation of multiple simultaneous local area network segments,” the statement of work explains. “The contractor must then implement this network.”

The statement and accompanying request for proposals detail suggested configurations, as well as must-have and nice-to-have options. Among the must-haves is a requirement to provide government-only Wi-Fi for the entire area, with the ability to support at least 200 devices.

The network will also be used for more than just communications. For example, the requirements include a minimum of eight internet-connected cameras for real-time monitoring of the event’s temporary jail cells and the surrounding area.

The work extends beyond the concert days to pre- and post-event. The winning vendor would be expected to begin setting up on Aug. 15 and will need to provide network support for 17 days, from Aug. 21 through Sept. 6.

In 2017, Interior awarded the contract to High Desert Internet Services for $108,710.

Responses to the 2018 RFP are due May 30 by 8 p.m.