According to the funding opportunity announcement, eligible applicants include institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, state and local governments, Indian tribes, hospitals, foreign public entities, and foreign governments. Applications must be submitted to Grants.gov by February 28, 2017.
Despite Contract Delay, FirstNet Says It's Ready to Move Swiftly Once Vendor Is Chosen
December 20, 2016
At a recent board meeting, FirstNet officials laid out a 100-day plan that indicates a number of strategic milestones the authority plans to hit once an award is made. While the nation’s first high-speed data network for first responders has been delayed by legal challenge, program managers say they are ready to hit the ground running as soon as the starter gun fires.
“We have the rigor in place. We are an up-and-running organization just as Congress intended,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said at the organization’s quarterly meeting held Dec. 14. “We are here and it’s done, and we are ready.”
FirstNet cybersecurity demands just one area that potential opt-out states should weigh carefully
December 20, 2016
Many advocates of the opt-out alternative to FirstNet cite the option as a way for a state to exert greater control over the public-safety broadband network within its borders. There is no doubt that an opt-out decision would create much more work for a state, but the level of operational control may not be the kind that proponents envisioned. Governors likely will be missing key FirstNet data point, making opt-out decision even more precarious
It was only a brief statement during last week’s FirstNet board meeting, but it is one that governors should heed as they prepare to decide whether to accept FirstNet’s deployment plan or to pursue the “opt-out” alternative, which requires the state to build and operate the radio access network (RAN) within its borders for the next 25 years.
“We have been very vocal that we are going to be unrelenting and unforgiving in our approach to an examination of cyber for states as they consider alternative courses,” FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said. “[State officials will] be able to dive deeply into that portal and see what the gold standard will be that they are going to have to match.”
NIST Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program Funding Opportunity
Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) is excited to announce the release of the NIST Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program Funding Opportunity to rapidly accelerate research and development related to public safety broadband communications. Through this opportunity, PSCR anticipates awarding up to $30,000,000 in grants and cooperative agreements by May 2017. The funding opportunity is open to all non-Federal entities. In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to partner with public safety organizations to create innovative and impactful proposals. For more information, please visit PSCR's grants page at https://www.nist.gov/ctl/pscr/funding-partnerships/grants
Arizona delays RFP submission deadline to March 30, 2017
December 17, 2016
Arizona state officials yesterday changedto March 30, 2017 the deadline for vendors to submit bids to its request for proposals to build and operate a public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN) that would exist only if Arizona’s governor decides to opt out of the nationwide FirstNet buildout next year.
Arizona changed the RFP submission date today on state’s procurement website, marking the third time the deadline has been changed—proposals previously were due on Nov. 30 and Dec. 29. Those delays were supported by statements that Arizona wants its RFP bids to be submitted after FirstNet announces its nationwide contractor, as potential vendors have indicated that they do not want to answer state RFPs until FirstNet’s nationwide procurement is finalized.
The first nationwide interoperable communications network for first responders is facing another delay.
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) convened its quarterly meeting Wednesday to discuss its post-RFP strategy, releasing a 100-day plan that will be implemented after the network’s $7 billion contract is awarded. A press release telegraphs the agency’s readiness to move forward.
FirstNet Outlines Details Expected in State Plans, Information Portals
December 14, 2016
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) outreach and consultation team outlined in more detail the exact information that will be included in state plans and how that information will be delivered to state officials after a contract is awarded.
FirstNet officials offered the information during committee meetings Dec. 13, and it was provided to state point of contacts (SPOC) during their fall meeting last month.
President-elect Donald Trump is not the only one with a first 100 days plan.
FirstNet, the first responder interoperable public safety communications network created in the spectrum auction law and funded through auctions, has outlined the first 100 days of its public-private partnership—a private company will have access to the network's spectrum except in times of emergency, when first responders have first dibs.
FirstNet Outlines Details Expected in State Plans, Information Portals
December 13, 2016
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) outreach and consultation team outlined in more detail the exact information that will be included in state plans and how that information will be delivered to state officials after a contract is awarded. FirstNet officials offered the information during committee meetings Dec. 13, and it was provided to state point of contacts (SPOC) during their fall meeting last month
FirstNet preparing network policies for nationwide contractor, opt-out states
December 13, 2016
FirstNet’s technical staff has established a draft set of network policies that will be followed throughout the United States, whether the radio access network (RAN) is deployed by FirstNet’s nationwide contractor or by opt-out states, FirstNet officials said today. “These [policies] constitute the basis for network interoperability,” FirstNet CTO Jeff Bratcher said during the technology portion of FirstNet’s board committee meetings. “They provide the development and operations framework for the network partner and also establish the criteria for the FCC and the NTIA to evaluate opt-out states’ alternative plans.”
IACP Passes Resolution of Continuing Support for FirstNet
December 9, 2016
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Communications and Technology Committee passed a resolution showing continued support for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). IACP has supported and participated in the operation of the FirstNet Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) to ensure that the interests of IACP members and the law enforcement community are included in the development of the FirstNet nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN). The resolution encourages all IACP members and the law enforcement community to participate in ongoing discussions relative to the implementation of the NPSBN and to strongly consider the benefits of becoming a user of the FirstNet NPSBN at the time it becomes implemented and available.
Why FirstNet is Needed Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow by Mike Worrell
December 9, 2016
I joined the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) almost one year ago. Before that, I spent my 29-year career working to improve communications and data access. Getting access to data, interoperability, capacity and customer service are still issues that public safety wrestles with today. Most access to data is limited to computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems. Broadband technology is being used by more responders today, but it is still limited in availability and is often cost prohibitive.
As FirstNet progresses toward the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband Network (“Network”), here are what I believe to be the top reasons why the Network is not only needed by the fire service, but how it is going to revolutionize the way they respond to incidents and emergencies:
December 2016 FirstNet Meeting Information:
The Board of the First Responder Network Authority (Board) will convene an open public meeting on December 14, 2016, preceded by open public meetings of the Board Committees on December 13, 2016.
A joint meeting of the four FirstNet Board Committees will be held on December 13, 2016, between 8:00 AM and 3:30 PM (PST).
The meeting of the Governance and Personnel, Technology, Consultation and Outreach, and Finance Committees will be open to the public from 8:00 AM to 10:15 AM (PST).
The FirstNet Board will hold an open public meeting on December 14, 2016 between 8:00 AM and 9:55 AM (PST) and between 10:20 AM and 11:00 AM (PST).
The meetings will also be available to interested parties by phone.
Meetings will be in listen-only mode
Dial in number: 1.888.324.8109
PSCR announces $30 million program for research initiatives in six areas, including mission-critical voice
December 8, 2016
Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) yesterday announced a federal funding opportunity (FFO) that will provide a maximum of $30 million to fund research projects designed to accelerate innovation in six key technology areas, including mission-critical voice, public-safety analytics and resilient systems. This funding opportunity represents the initial significant PSCR initiative funded by $300 million that was included in the legislation passed in 2012 that created FirstNet, according to PSCR Division Chief Dereck Orr.
FirstNet’s Uncertainty Increases with RFP Protest, Changing Administration
December 05, 2016
As we approach the end of 2016 and the February five-year birthday of the legislation that created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), there was optimism that an imminent announcement of the selection of a national partner would turn the promise of a national public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) into a reality.
Following the mid-October announcement from pdvWireless, one of the three acknowledged competitors in the process, that it had been eliminated from consideration, hope remained that a final choice was coming soon. Nov.1, the targeted date, came and went without such news.
Why public safety should be excited by FirstNet’s prospects, despite potential delays
December 6, 2016
Rivada Mercury is suing to protest its removal from consideration for the FirstNet procurement, noting the strengths of its proposal. Now that the evaluation team has deemed that Rivada Mercury's proposal is not in the "competitive range," it is intriguing to consider how good AT&T's offer may be.
It has been six months since offeror teams answered FirstNet’s request for proposals (RFP) by submitting bids to build and operate the much-anticipated nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN). Since then, little information has become available about the procurement process—as it should be with acquisitions.
That changed dramatically with Rivada Mercury’s Nov. 21 lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that protests the evaluation team’s determination that the Rivada Mercury proposal was not good enough to be included in the “competitive range”—the final federal procurement stage where only the “most highly rated” proposals are considered.
Key Considerations for the FirstNet State Plan
December 6, 2016
FirstNet has been consulting with the states and territories on the development of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. As a key next step, FirstNet will use the feedback received and data collected to develop State plans for deploying the Radio Access Network (RAN) in each state. Between now and the delivery of the State Plans, the FirstNet consultation and state plans teams will continue to work with the states to prepare them for reviewing both the draft and final state plans. Meantime, to assist the states in the process, FirstNet has developed the following tutorial to highlight some of the major steps and considerations leading up to the Governor’s decision on the State Plan. This tutorial also identifies examples of the key officials and advisors that could be involved in the review process to ensure the Governor is prepared to make the most informed decision about deploying the RAN their state.
View Key Considerations for the FirstNet State Plan Video
AT&T emerges as 'apparent selection' to build FirstNet
December 2, 2016
AT&T is the apparent selection to build FirstNet, as Rivada Mercury has filed a protest over its elimination from the bid, IWCE’s Urgent Communications is reporting.
While no official announcement has been made—and rules around the bidding and awarding of a federal contract like this are complex and onerous—the elimination of Rivada Mercury as a bidder in the process points to AT&T as the likely bidder, IWCE’s Urgent Communications reports, noting that court records indicate the award likely will be delayed until at least March.
An AT&T spokesperson declined to comment on the report, but in a Dec. 2 Form 8-K Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, the company acknowledged that it has been informed that it is a bidder within the "competitive range" by the First Responder Network, and it’s not aware of any other bidders in this realm. pdvWireless, led by longtime wireless industry veterans Brian McAuley and Morgan O’Brien, was informed in October that it was no longer part of the competitive process.
Rivada Mercury is protesting its elimination from consideration to become FirstNet’s contractor to build and operate the much-anticipated nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN)—an action that points to AT&T as the selected bidder, although court documents indicate that the award likely will be delayed until at least March.
Rivada Mercury’s claims that the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI)—the government agency overseeing the procurement process for the FirstNet contractor in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)—erred in eliminating the Rivada Mercury bid. Led by Rivada Networks, the bidding team is seeking a ruling that its exclusion from the final “competitive range” phase of the federal procurement was “arbitrary and capricious,” requesting a permanent injunction on the contract award until the Rivada Mercury bid is evaluated fully.
The First Responder Network Authority continues its march toward delivering a nationwide broadband network to public safety workers with the FirstNet Innovation and Test Lab.
Opened Nov. 9 in FirstNet’s Boulder, Colo., technical headquarters, the lab is intended to be a “plug and play” environment in which the authority and its future industry partners will test apps, devices and features before deploying them to the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. The lab will perform technology validation and automated testing in addition to providing a space for collaboration, knowledge sharing and training opportunities.
Land-mobile-radio (LMR) systems will continue to be used for the foreseeable future, but the LMR industry will need to adapt its offerings to a new communications landscape that includes broadband technologies like LTE, according to speakers participating on a recent panel exploring the subject.
New Mexico EMS Innovations Conference Highlights Opportunities for FirstNet Implementation
November 29, 2016
Innovation in the medical field is all around us. Every day, new solutions are developed that positively impact the ability of medical professionals and technology to save lives and improve patient outcomes. As FirstNet continues its outreach and consultation with states and territories, we’re learning from public safety and we are seeing the many ways that healthcare is coming to rely on next-generation tools such as connected devices and smart sensors to help medical professionals provide more effective patient care.
November 29, 2016
Westell Technologies, Inc. announced today the newest member of a portfolio of in-building wireless coverage solutions designed to meet both existing National Fire Alarm Code NFPA 72 standards and future First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) requirements.
“In emergency and disaster situations, first responders need reliable, mobile communications that don’t entirely rely on commercial wireless networks,” said Mike Moran, Senior Vice President, In-Building Wireless at Westell. “The PS71090 Public Safety Signal Booster is a future-proof solution that meets strict requirements both today and in the future.”
AT&T ask States to Show Interoperability in FirstNET Plans
November 29, 2016
In reply comments filed last week, AT&T asked the FCC to require states that submit alternative plans to First Responder Network Authority’s (“FirstNET”) partner to make a detailed showing that the radio access network (“RAN”) will be interoperable with FirstNET. AT&T noted in its filing that achieving and maintaining interoperability will be “incredibly challenging” and will be even more complex if a State opts-out. In addition to showing how a State -operated RAN may become interoperable, AT&T asks that states “demonstrate a serious long-term commitment of resources, funding, expertise, and cooperation.” AT&T is one of three entities known to have submitted a bid for the contract to serve as FirstNET’s partner.
First responder network to be tested in Sedalia, Missouri
November 22, 2016
Sedalia has been selected as a test market for a new first responders’ network, and local law enforcement and other members of the Sedalia first responders’ community learned about the opportunity Thursday evening.
Representatives from Persistent Telecom, based in New Jersey, spoke with members of the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office, Pettis County Commission, Sedalia Fire Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Sedalia City Council and Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency at Hotel Bothwell to explain its Sustainable Communications Network (SCN).
While the critical-communications industry anxiously awaits FirstNet's unveiling of the contractor that will build its nationwide public-safety broadband network, here are some key questions that interested parties hope will be addressed when the announcement is made. There still is no word when FirstNet will name its contractor or which of the bidding teams will emerge victorious. As each day passes, the likelihood of FirstNet making its announcement during the month of November—a goal of officials within the organization—continues to decrease. And that is OK. FirstNet’s stated procurement timetable was a goal, not anything a hard deadline.
But public safety has questions that it wants answered, no matter which team is chosen to build and operate FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN). Some are more likely than others to be answered when FirstNet makes its announcement, but here are some of the most notable queries:
2.Is the contract signed?
3.Will there be protests and/or delays?
4.How much will service cost?
5.What is a ‘public-safety entity’?
6.Who do I call when stuff happens?
7.How will local control work?
8.How will cybersecurity be achieved?
9.How will FirstNet interface with 911?
10.What will happen to early-builder projects?
The US First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), recently opened, marks the beginning of a new lab examination that will specialize in testing public safety features, devices and apps before operational use.
The Lab, operating at FirstNet’s technical headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, boasts capabilities that will enable private industry partners to test devices and apps before they are deployed on the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.
DHS Issues IoT Security Strategic Principles
November 16, 2016
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a set of “Strategic Principles for Securing the Internet of Things (IoT), Version 1.0.” These principles highlight approaches and suggested practices to fortify the security of the IoT and will equip stakeholders to make responsible and risk-based security decisions as they design, manufacture and use internet-connected devices and systems.
The State’s Opt-in or opt-out Decision. Soon after FirstNet announces the RFP winner (its Partner), the clock starts ticking down to the first six-month milestone. States will have to be prepared to decide whether to opt in and let FirstNet build out the network in that state or opt out and go it alone. Opting out means navigating their way through three different federal organizations, going out to bid, and then most likely being on the hook for the next 25 years for any financial shortfalls, system upgrades, and system expansions. The decision will be tough for some states that have, it seems, been promised they can reap huge rewards from use of the FirstNet spectrum for secondary uses. This is even though FirstNet has repeatedly clarified this issue declaring that states may use funds from a state-operated network only for that network and must turn any surplus over to FirstNet for the good of the nationwide network.
Persistent Telecom Inc., (PTI) will host an event November 17, 2016 to introduce its plan and technology to the community. The event is open to all interested parties. Invitees will include the mayor, city council, local and county government, chief of police, fire chief, police, firefighters and first responders. The PTI team will give a briefing on its approach to solving the FirstNet needs, an explanation of Sustainable Communications Network capabilities and a brief demonstration of the technology
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has opened the FirstNet Innovation and Test Lab at its technical headquarters in Boulder, Colorado. FirstNet’s lab will be a “plug and play” environment in which FirstNet and its future private industry partner will test public safety features, devices, and apps before they are deployed on the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.
As CivSource has previously reported, those products are already starting to make their way to market. Yesterday, Nokia launched its first public safety focused push-to-video solution and last month, Cradlepoint announced support for Band 14 the spectrum band devoted to FirstNet.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International have partnered to help the first responder community secure mobile applications. DHS said Monday its science and technology directorate will offer funds and technical support to help APCO refine an evaluation program that will aid interoperability, reliability and security of public safety apps used by citizens and state and local agencies.
The development of FirstNet continues to "cook along" with the stew still simmering on the back burner. The latest update is that the announcement on the selected vendor to develop and deploy FirstNet nationally may be delayed to the end of this year. Here in Washington state we continue to have events that coordinate with public agencies on the use of FirstNet with the goal to make it as user friendly and supportive as possible of users of the system. On Thursday of this past week we had an event that was a discussion on "pain points" of our current digital wireless systems and what is needed to make the future wireless FirstNet system address some of those pain points.
Rivada Networks is leading the Rivada Mercury bidding team, one of the groups vying for the right to build and maintain the FirstNet NPSBN for the next 25 years. But Ganley said the FirstNet legal interpretation that prohibits states from keeping surplus revenues generated by the FirstNet system is incorrect.
New product would help first responders communicate when cell service knocked out
November 4, 2016
When disaster strikes an area, cell service is often knocked out. That's why first responders are looking into a product called FirstNet -- which would could help keep the lines of communication open. The people behind FirstNet are working to convince first responders in our area that we need a new cellular system assigned just for them. "It's going to change the way that police officers, firefighters and paramedics work,” said FirstNet senior advisor Bill Schrier.
Standard for 9-1-1 National Address Database Released
November 03, 2016
The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) released a new standard, titled Location Accuracy Improvements for Emergency Calls (ATIS-0700028 v1.1), which defines the architecture and requirements for buildout of the 9-1-1 National Emergency Address Database (NEAD), as well as how information in the database will be processed.
NEAD will store information related to the location of Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth beacons in an effort to provide dispatchable location information to public-safety officials.
"With the proliferation of wireless mobile devices that are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, it is imperative that these devices have the ability to tap into those resources to augment existing methods that allow an emergency caller's location to be known," said ATIS President and CEO Susan Miller. "This new standard marks yet another of our many contributions toward enhancing the effectiveness of wireless emergency 9-1-1 services and supporting public-safety officials."
FirstNet’s Poth Promises Sustainable Business Model, Accountability in Contract Award
FirstNet CEO Mike Poth promised the nationwide Long Term Evolution (LTE) network for public safety will have a sustainable business model and will meet public safety’s needs during the next 25 years. He said the entity that is eventually awarded the contract won’t get paid if they don’t deliver on the contract milestones. “We will also hold our new partner accountable to the buildout milestones and adoption targets in the contract,” Poth said at an industry event. “As with any procurement, if they don’t deliver, they don’t get paid. It is that simple.”
FirstNet will not cut procedural corners or accept unnecessary delays as it enters the final stages of the procurement to select a contractor that will be tasked to build and maintain a nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) for the next 25 years, FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said yesterday. Although FirstNet did not meet the Nov. 1 target date for announcing its contractor selection, Poth said he is “extremely encouraged by the progress” to date. Reiterating a commitment outlined in a blog he authored last week, Poth stressed the importance of the FirstNet procurement following all steps outlined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and that FirstNet “do it right” when selecting its contractor team.
“I will not trade quality for expediency,” Poth said during a brief speech to open IWCE’s Critical LTE Communications Forum on Wednesday. “I will not trade conducting a thorough, fair, balanced evaluation of all offers to hit a date. I have not, and will not, allow lobbying or influence to affect any decision or action that is taken.
FirstNet’s procurement includes an aggressive phased deployment plan throughout the United States. There are myriad potential sources for significant delays, including procurement protests, legal challenges, state opt-out decisions, financial matters and political/logistical issues. Almost never addressed directly in a public setting, such delays have been discussed privately almost from the establishment of FirstNet and have been the “elephant in the room” for many discussions addressing deployment and operational timeframes. What could go wrong?
First Responder Network Authority is in the evaluation phase and is close to awarding a contract to build a national public safety broadband network for first responders. FirstNet CEO Mike Poth said Thursday the agency has completed several tasks in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation in order to facilitate the contract award for the proposed national wireless network.
Emergency Management has published several articles about the movement toward a next-generation 911 (NG911) system based on modern Internet protocols that will allow responders to take advantage of capabilities such as text and video messaging. Beyond the capability to send and receive texts and multimedia, there are other benefits to the new types of networks. Public safety answering points (PSAPs) will be able to transfer calls and activate alternative routing to share the burden during an emergency or when they are closed by disaster.
A joint industry effort has produced ruggedized augmented reality glasses that securely deliver real-time multimedia information to first responders. The solution, developers say, would shave precious minutes off response times, which could mean the difference between life or death.
Such technologies are picking up traction in law enforcement and military environments as officials look to the virtual world for life-saving solutions.
FirstNet, U.K. ESN Pushed Timelines Signal More Positive Outcomes
November 01, 2016
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announcement last week that it would not award a partner for its request for proposals (RFP) acquisition process by Nov. 1 wasn’t a huge surprise considering the contract’s size, scope and uniqueness. The timeframe for the RFP is up in the air, with FirstNet CEO Mike Poth saying only the award will be “beyond the Nov. 1 target date.” Does that mean by the end of the month, the year or even later? I don’t think anyone outside FirstNet — or many within — knows for sure.
Across the pond in the United Kingdom, the country’s nationwide public-safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) project is underway, but U.K. officials also decline to provide a set timeline. Richard Hewlett, deputy director, Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) Crime, Policing and Fire Group, last week said quality is more important than timing for the U.K. Emergency Services Network (ESN).
October 31, 2016
Arizona postponed until Nov. 30 the deadline for vendors to submit bids for the state’s request for proposals (RFP) to build a public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN), and another postponement is a “very good possibility,” if FirstNet has not announced its nationwide award by late November, according to a state official. When Arizona released the RFP, the vendor submission deadline originally was scheduled to be today. Vendors were informed during the Oct. 20 pre-bid meeting that the deadline would be extended, and the Nov. 30 date was set last week, according to Timothy Chung, an assistant director for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Morgan O'Brien reflects on dismissed bid for nationwide FirstNet contract, potential for public safety
October 31, 2016
Morgan O'Brien, the co-founder of Nextel Communications who proposed the notion of a nationwide public-safety broadband network a decade ago, explains the processes involved in the development of a proposal by Code3 Broadband—a consortium led by pdvWireless, of which O'Brien is vice chairman—for FirstNet that was removed from consideration two weeks ago. On November 9th, around dawn in most cases, thousands of candidate hopefuls will wake up to the grim realization that their hopes, dreams, and considerable investments of time, energy and resources will have all been for naught: they lost! Boy, can I sympathize. Earlier this month, my colleagues, partners, supporters and I were dropped by FirstNet from the selection process that had been a monster part of our lives since early this year. We are Code3 Broadband, and we put the very best of ourselves into the pursuit of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a network to serve public safety. But we lost!
Inside look: Fire, emergency responders test FirstNet Ohio's FirstNet
October 28, 2016
Public safety providers in central Ohio had the chance to experience the future of broadband for managing emergency incidents. Using a dedicated public safety 700 MHz LTE broadband network — FirstNet — constructed exclusively for this event, public safety personnel from fire, law enforcement, EMS, public safety telecommunications and other agencies came together to learn what a dedicated high-speed data will mean for public safety agencies in the United States. The State of Ohio and Greene County, Ohio sponsored the event that was conducted in and around Beavercreek Township, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. I spoke with Kelly Castle, project manager at OhioFirst.Net, to get her assessment of how the test was conducted and the feedback she received from the participants.
FirstNet Won’t Make Nov. 1 RFP Target Award Date.
October 27, 2016
“FirstNet will continue to execute the acquisition process outlined in the RFP beyond the Nov. 1 target date for the award,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth in a blog. “From the outset, FirstNet set an aggressive schedule for the procurement, knowing that the timing of the award would depend on many factors given its significance and complexity, some of which are outside our control,” Poth said. “This is a highly complex acquisition that requires the input and support of multiple agencies and entities; it is critical that all parties are thorough and follow the necessary processes so that FirstNet gets this right for public safety.”
FirstNet Announces Delay in Selection of Vendor
October 20, 2016
FirstNet will not be able to make the November 1, 2016, goal of having a nationwide vendor selected for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network. Their Executive Staff is in the final negotiations with the expected vendor. An announcement of award date has not been set. FirstNet is hopeful the selection and announcement will be finalized before the end of this year.
FirstNet to Host Public Meeting for the Southern Region Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEISs) in Atlanta
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is preparing five regional Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEISs) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of a proposed nationwide public safety broadband network as required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Due to the geographic scope and the diversity of ecosystems potentially traversed by the project, FirstNet has elected to prepare five regional PEISs. Georgia is located in the Southern Region.
Public involvement is an integral component of NEPA, and FirstNet invites you to get involved in any or all of the public processes relating to these PEISs. Attendees can obtain information regarding the project and/or submit a comment in person during public meeting.
Date/Time: 10-25-2016 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Event: Public Meeting for the Southern Region Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
Location: The Glen Hotel
110 Marietta St NW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Need for FirstNet Greater Than Ever, First Responders Say
October 20, 2016
The government organization charged with building the nation’s first high-speed data network for first responders says it will make its first contract award soon. It will likely happen in November, although no firm date is set.
With an award on the $7 billion First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) program potentially just weeks away, first responders say that despite years of planning, they still have more questions than answers when it comes to the future LTE communications backbone.
SLA to Release Mission Critical (3GPP MCPTT) Version of Its ESChat Product
October 18, 2016
ESChat is the nation's leading carrier independent and secure PTT over LTE solution and is used by the U.S. Military, as well as federal, state & local law enforcement and first responders. SLA's Mission Critical ESChat (MC-ESChat) will maintain compatibility with existing cloud and private ESChat servers and will also interoperate with 3GPP compliant Application Servers from all MCPTT vendors.
Bittium conducts the first VoLTE call in Public Safety LTE band 14 environment
October 12, 2016
While VoLTE is being used in commercial LTE networks for voice services, this was the first time that a VoLTE call was completed on the network environment that will be used on the dedicated Public Safety Broadband network by First Responder Network Authority FirstNet in the USA. This is an important milestone, as the FirstNet network will be a greenfield deployment of an LTE-only network, with no legacy circuit switched voice services, which was traditionally used for voice calls. In an LTE-only network, the voice communications are handled via VoLTE.
The call was made at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) campus in Boulder, Colorado. Bittium has a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with NIST and is one of the industry partners in the NIST Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) Division’s testbed designed to evaluate advanced broadband equipment and software for emergency first responders.
What Dedicated Broadband Can Do For Public Safety
October 12, 2016
Fifteen years after 9/11, America’s first responders continue to be hampered by wireless communications systems that are incompatible and unreliable. As a result, they are often unable to share critical information. This compromises their effectiveness and jeopardizes their lives and those of the citizens they serve.
As technology has evolved, first responders have come to rely on commercial wireless services to share video and other important data. These services are woefully inadequate to address the mission-critical communications needs of our public safety agencies.
NASEMSO Announces Resolutions Supporting CARES and FirstNet
October 11, 2016
At its recent Fall Meeting, the National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO) passed resolutions on two important issues: 1) supporting the data elements in CARES as the national standard prehospital data set for cardiac arrests, and 2) championing the First Responder Network Authority as the nationwide broadband network for EMS
LMR to LTE Working Group Name Change Signals Support for LMR Sustainment
October 11, 2016
The name of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) LMR to LTE Migration working group, with a focus on interoperability between LMR and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, was changed to the LMR LTE Integration and Interoperability working group. The change will help public-safety LMR system managers seeking funding for sustainment, modernization and expansion, industry officials said.
October 11, 2016
Rivada Networks and Rivada Mercury will not consider submitting bids in response to any current or future state requests for proposals (RFPs) to build public-safety LTE radio access networks (RANs) until after FirstNet announces the winner of its nationwide RFP sometime next month, according to Rivada Networks co-CEO Declan Ganley. “We had said a long time ago that we would not respond to any more state RFIs—I think we said that last spring,” Ganley said yesterday during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Given that we are so close now to seeing what FirstNet’s decision is, we are not going to be responding to any further state RFPs.”
Arizona FirstNet ExerciseSTATE COLLEGE, Pa. (October 6, 2016)— Mission Critical Partners, Inc. (MCP) developed and managed, on behalf of the State of Arizona, a mock disaster drill designed to test a variety of communications technologies being considered for the state’s planned public safety broadband network (PSBN). The disaster drill—which simulated a tour helicopter losing altitude and striking a tour bus, with multiple fatalities and injuries and a wide debris field— was hosted by the Hualapai Tribe and its Grand Canyon West Corporation, and held on tribal lands at the west rim of the Grand Canyon.
October 6, 2016
Many in public safety have expressed resistance to the notion that some states are exploring the notion of migrating 700 MHz public-safety narrowband spectrum to broadband use, citing legitimate concerns. But the reality is that public safety needs to examine all options to better utilize this band, or it could risk losing this very valuable spectrum. Most attention associated with state requests for proposal (RFPs) seeking bidders willing to build statewide radio access networks (RANs) that would interoperate with the proposed FirstNet system has been focused on the public-safety LTE impact of those procurements—specifically, whether those states might choose the “opt-out” alternative after viewing the state deployment plan developed by FirstNet and its contractor. But the New Hampshire and Alabama RFPs also include language that call for the winning bidder (Rivada Networks, in the case of New Hampshire) to explore the possibility of repurposing the 12 MHz of 700 MHz narrowband spectrum reserved for public safety in those states from land-mobile-radio (LMR) use to public-safety LTE use.
Panasonic and Cradlepoint Deliver Integrated 4G-LTE and FirstNet Mobile Computing and Connectivity Solution for First Responders
October 06, 2016
Panasonic, an industry leader in exceptionally reliable and innovative mobile computers, and Cradlepoint, the global leader in cloud-based network solutions for connecting people, places and things over wired and wireless broadband, today announced the commercial availability of an integrated mobile computing and connectivity networking solution. Designed for public safety and EMS agencies as well as transportation and utilities industries, the mobile computing and connectivity solution supports both commercial 4G-LTE and the emerging FirstNet public safety networks based on Band-14.
The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) released a position paper against mixing 700 MHz public-safety broadband and narrowband operations in the same spectrum. The council said “doing so can negatively impact both public-safety communications reliability and interoperability.” Some jurisdictions have expressed potential interest in converting the 700 MHz narrowband spectrum to broadband use, NPSTC said. This would result in a mix of narrowband and broadband operations across different jurisdictions in the same block of 700 MHz band spectrum.
Concerns Raised with Repurposing Public Safety 700 MHz Narrowband Radio Channels
October 4, 2016
Some states have recently issued Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to build and maintain the LTE radio access network in their state if they opt-out of FirstNet. These RFPs reference the 700 MHz narrowband spectrum.
The National Regional Planning Council (NRPC) in a statement released last week strongly recommended that extreme care and diligence be undertaken before any consideration is made to repurpose public safety 700 MHz narrowband spectrum for broadband use
How should states prepare for FirstNet opt-out decision?
October 4, 2016
Most states have not taken any formal actions to prepare for the FirstNet opt-out decisions that their governors are expected to make next year. There is a lot to consider, and approaches can vary dramatically—a fact that is evident in the three state requests for proposals (RFPs) that have been released to date. According to the FirstNet team, the request for proposals (RFP) award announcement could be made as early as the first week of November, though it may take some time after the announcement for all of the t’s to be crossed and i’s to be dotted in the formal contract.
In the meantime—during the month of October and the period after the announcement but before the contract award—states should be preparing to make the best decision possible when it comes to opting in or out of FirstNet. There are 47 states that have not yet gone public with any concept or RFP. However, these states can follow models from states that have publicly initiated steps toward the decision process.
Legislators Ask NTIA, NHTSA About Lack of NG 9-1-1 Progress
September 29, 2016
Lawmakers asked National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator Lawrence Strickling and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator (NHTSA) Mark Rosekind why the agencies have failed to satisfy their requirements under the Next Generation 911 Advancement Act of 2012. Intended to improve coordination and communications between federal, state and local emergency systems with respect to 9-1-1 services, the law also provides for matching grant funding to transition the nation from analog 9-1-1 to a next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) system that uses IP-based technology.
First responders need access to life-saving, 3D location technology
September 29, 2016
For public safety, the location of an incident and where its personnel resources are during a response are critical pieces of information. With this in mind, it is crucial that such data—including vertical-location information, with floor-level granularity—is made available to first-response agencies.
TheFirstNet RFP has been issued, responses are back and evaluations are currently in progress. For all practical purposes, the nation will finally get a broadband network dedicated to Public Safety needs. The question is: What we will get in the public-safety broadband network that is useful to us?
Arizona becomes third state to issue RFP for statewide public-safety LTE network
September 28, 2016
The state of Arizona today released a request for proposal (RFP) seeking bids to build and maintain a statewide public-safety LTE radio access network (RAN), if the state opts out of the FirstNet nationwide broadband system for first responders. Arizona is the third state to take this action—New Hampshire and Alabama have previously—and its RFP calls for bids to be submitted by Oct. 31. Proposals will be evaluated during November and December, with an award being announced as early as December, according to the RFP.
Rivada Networks, a leading designer, integrator and operator of wireless, interoperable communications networks, has selected InfoVista’s Planet software to design a large-scale public safety LTE network, the FirstNet project. Rivada relies on the trusted accuracy and automated design capabilities of Planet to support efforts related to FirstNet’s next-generation, public safety network for first responders.
FirstNet education is crucial, but it does not lend itself well to sound bites, elevator pitches
September 27, 2016
FirstNet is important, but educating officials, public safety and the general public about this unprecedented initiative may be easier said than done.
Governors likely will be missing key FirstNet data point, making opt-out decision even more precarious. Within several weeks, we should know which bidding team has been awarded the FirstNet contract to build and operate a nationwide public-safety broadband network that will be designed to carry some of the country’s most sensitive communications for the next 25 years.
And six months after that, the governor in every state and territory will begin to make the significant decision whether to accept the FirstNet state plan to deploy the network within the jurisdiction or “opt out” and build the radio access network (RAN) on its own. A good choice should lead to affordable broadband coverage for the state’s first responders; a bad choice could leave public safety in the state with poor communications and taxpayers saddled with debt that could approach pension-crisis levels.
FCC’s FirstNet State Opt-Out Comments Due October 21, 2016
Comments in the FCC’s August notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking input on proposed procedures for administering the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) state opt-out process and FCC obligations to evaluate state opt-out applications are due October 21. 2016. The NPRM was released in conjunction with an order that set a deadline of Aug. 31, 2017, for public-safety narrowband incumbents to vacate FirstNet’s spectrum.
Booker Announces Membership in NextGen 911 Caucus, Commends NJ’s ‘Text to 9-1-1’ Program
September 24, 2016 6
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has joined the Congressional NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus, a bipartisan, bicameral initiative that seeks to support the technological enhancement and reliability of emergency response systems. “Mobile technology has rapidly advanced since 9-1-1 was first implemented, but too many emergency response systems are stuck in the past,” said Sen. Booker. “Technology again showed its potential to aid in emergencies just last week when authorities used mobile phone alerts to rapidly distribute information on the New York - New Jersey bombing suspect. I’m pleased to be a part of this important bipartisan initiative and look forward to working with colleagues to ensure 9-1-1 systems around the country are prepared to meet today’s toughest challenges.” said Senator Booker.
The First Responder Network Authority’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) has added to its membership two officials from federal agencies. They will serve as chair and vice chair of the PSAC’s new federal working group. They are FBI supervisory special agent Michael Gilmore and Kraig Moise, acting associate chief of Customs and Border Protection, PSAC Chairman Harlin McEwen said in a blog posting. “Their membership on the PSAC will further integrate FirstNet’s federal outreach and consultation activities with the PSAC’s work and drive its continued success,” he said.
Our nation has an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned from crises worldwide into the ongoing development and deployment of the FirstNet (First Responder Network Authority) nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN). Established to modernize communications for first responders and provide a dedicated high-speed broadband network exclusively for public safety, FirstNet can make significant strides toward better preparing and equipping U.S. first responders for large-scale emergency scenarios.
FirstNet Gets New Senior Law Enforcement Advisor
FirstNet is pleased to have Mike Bostic on board as their new senior law enforcement advisor. Chief Bostic has been an advocate for FirstNet’s vision since even before there was a FirstNet. He spent 34 years in the Los Angeles Police Department before starting a second career in the telecommunications industry. From being a beat cop to a chief, Chief Bostic witnessed, firsthand, the make-or-break impact of communications on police work. During his time in the department, Chief Bostic oversaw information technology and facility development used to create a new command and control system.
Virginia Governor McAuliffe announced Wednesday that the Virginia State Police will receive more than $7.3 million in grant funding to transition all existing radios and communications systems on the Commonwealth’s Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS) to the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) awarded the funding as part of its Band 14 Incumbent Spectrum Relocation Grant Program (Band 14 Program). Virginia is one of only eight states and local public safety agencies in the nation to be selected for funding.
In this document the Federal Communications Commission opens a new proceeding relating to the National Public Safety Broadband Network being implemented by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The proceeding seeks comment on proposed procedures for administering the Commission’s role in the State opt-out process from FirstNet.
Mutualink’s Role in the Band 14 Discussion Evolving from a Narrowband Neighborhood to a Broadband World
September 21, 2016
Leading the first responder transition from narrowband to broadband by providing secure multimedia communications within and among agencies and organizations. The need for mission critical group collaboration, both within and between otherwise siloed communication networks, suggests rethinking FirstNet as a necessary silo with low walls. Group collaboration with organizations outside of FirstNet (either by choice or by defined exclusion) is then possible on an ad hoc basis using Mutualink’s interoperability platform.
Alabama issues RFP for public-safety LTE RAN network, says it has not made opt-out decision
The state of Alabama issues a request for proposal (RFP) in an effort to solicit bids from vendors to build and maintain the LTE radio access network (RAN) in the state, if the governor chooses to pursue the opt-out alternative to FirstNet, becoming the second state in the U.S. to conduct such a procurement.
In the Report and Order, the Commission permits narrowband incumbents to remain on FirstNet's licensed spectrum until August 31, 2017, after which they will be required to vacate absent FirstNet's express consent to remain longer. In addition, the Commission prohibits continued operation by incumbents that have either previously discontinued operations or that are no longer in operation after the effective date of the Report and Order, and prohibits all narrowband incumbents from deploying additional facilities on FirstNet's licensed spectrum beyond those currently deployed as of the adoption date of the Report and Order.
Nokia Forms Mission Critical Communications Alliance
September 14, 2016
Nokia formed the Mission Critical Communications Alliance, a global collaboration of mobile operators, national and local-level public authorities and first response agencies to formalize standards in the use of Long Term Evolution (LTE) for public safety. The alliance will bring various stakeholders to a single platform with which to inform and guide policymakers on the benefits of LTE-based public-safety solutions for the provision of high-quality and robust critical communications services. More than 10 leading service providers and agencies such as Mobile Radio Center from Japan and Vodafone Hutchison Australia are participating in the program. The alliance will enable new ideas and partnerships to bolster momentum in application of the technology in this area.
National Preparedness Month 2016
September is National Preparedness Month. FEMA's Ready.Gov is encouraging everyone to plan how they would stay safe and communicate during disasters that can affect their community.
FirstNet is developing the first nationwide public safety broadband network to provide first responders the advanced communication and collaboration technologies they need to help them do their jobs safely and effectively.
Learn more about National Preparedness Month and how FirstNet will help first responders prepare for and respond to emergencies: Follow #NatlPrep on Twitter
Grand Canyon West To Host Emergency Response Drill With Public Safety Agencies
September 14, 2016
Grand Canyon West has announced that it will host a mock disaster drill to be conducted Wednesday Sept. 14, 2016, at the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. The drill will allow first responders to simulate a tour helicopter crash in order to test the nationwide public safety broadband network established in the aftermath of September 11th.
How to Be Ready for FirstNet When FirstNet Is Ready for Us
September 13, 2016
Ramping up to be FirstNet ready certainly sounds like a good idea, but how and when should fire departments begin making investments in the technology that will be able to leverage FirstNet? Mesa Fire/Medical Department has already started to lay the groundwork to be ready for FirstNet when FirstNet is ready for us. By taking advantage of opportunities in our ongoing cycle replacement of connected devices and proactively working with the City of Mesa’s Information Technology Department well ahead of any political or departmental mandates, we have already purchased and installed some of the hardware needed to utilize FirstNet on our front-line fire apparatus.
When terrorists attacked New York and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001, technology was quite different than it is today. There were no smartphones or social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Most people were just getting their clunky cellphones and only had dial-up internet in their homes since high speed access wasn’t affordable. People were still relying on newspapers, the radio and television solely for information.
FirstNet Will Enhance Emergency-Response Operations for Years to Come
September 13, 2016
By unanimous vote, the IAFC board of directors today passed a position statement in full support of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).
The statement reads in part, “The IAFC believes that FirstNet, by providing dedicated, interoperable, mission-critical data communications, will enhance emergency-response operations throughout the fire and emergency service for years to come. FirstNet will be a vital component for an effective response to a terrorist incident or a natural disaster and for everyday response. The Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission Report) identified the need for improved interoperable communications between first responders and recommended dedicated spectrum for public safety. These needs were again amplified and identified in the after-action reports of Hurricane Katrina and other incidents.”
USAR firefighter at 9/11 talks communication challenges
By Mike Worrell, FirstNet senior fire services advisor
On Sept. 11, 2001, I worked for the Phoenix Fire Department and was a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Urban Search and Rescue system, Arizona Task Force-1 (AZTF-1). I was at home getting ready for work when my wife told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center.
My first thought was that it was a private plane and weather had to be a factor. I imagined a picture of the World Trade Center covered in fog and with a plane in the side. I recalled the bomber hitting the Empire State Building in the 1940s.
IAFC Votes to Support FirstNet
September 9, 2016
As the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks approaches, the IAFC has voted to support the enhancement of communications for responders.
"More than 343 firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers died as a result of the attacks at the World Trade Center on 9/11. As the 15th anniversary approaches, the IAFC joins the families of these fallen public-safety officers in vowing that the sacrifices of 9/11 will not be in vain," officials said in a statement Thursday.
Expert Update: Post-9/11 Firefighter Communication Technology
September 7, 2016
Not familiar with FirstNet? Chances are you're not alone. One of the most important priorities for public safety that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11 was creating an ensuring, robust and interoperable communications for our nation's first responders. In 2012, Congress finally enacted legislation setting aside wireless spectrum and establishing FirstNet to oversee the building and operation of an interoperable broadband network dedicated to public safety.
It's been four years and FirstNet is now evaluating responses to the request for proposals it released earlier this year. In that time, some have questioned whether FirstNet is even needed now that so many first responders use cell phones to supplement radio communications — a report in the September issue of The Atlantic was among the most critical, calling it the most wasteful post-9/11 initiative.
FirstNet’s First Steps
September 6, 2016
When talking about the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), a common theme emerges: time. Some early testers of the planned multibillion-dollar nationwide network say there’s not enough of it, while critics ask why the it's taking so long to get the system up and running.
Four years after the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act created FirstNet as an independent government authority to provide communication services for public safety, the agency is preparing to award a contract in early November.
SAFECOM and the National Council of Interoperability Coordinators (NCSWIC) sent an Aug. 11 letter to Brian E. Kamoie, assistant administrator for the Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), urging FEMA to require Project 25 (P25) compliance for all grantees.
The letter provided recommendations for strengthening grantee compliance with P25 standards. Currently, the annual “SAFECOM Guidance on Emergency Communications Grants” allows grantees to submit written justification for non-standards purchases when needed. SAFECOM and NCSWIC said the clause creates a loophole for state and local agencies to purchase nonstandard equipment, hindering interoperability. Thus, SAFECOM and NCSWIC proposed three recommendations for establishing stronger P25 compliance standards.
AT&T to Pilot Sierra Wireless IoT Technology
September 1, 2016
Sierra Wireless and AT&T will pilot next-generation LTE-M network technologies this fall. The pilot will spur Long Term Evolution (LTE) network connections for internet of things (IoT) devices, the companies said.
The Sierra Wireless LTE-M module will support the AT&T pilot with several technology leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area in November. LTE-M technology works specifically with IoT devices such as smart meters, mobile health (mHealth) and wearables. AT&T plans to make the technology commercially available in 2017.
LTE-M technology offers low costs for gateway modules to the LTE network, long battery life and good LTE coverage underground and in building areas that challenge existing coverage.
FirstNet’s board has approved a $6.58 billion budget for the next financial year, although just $85 million of that is expected to be spent on operations, the company said.
FirstNet’s board has approved a $6.58 billion budget for the next financial year, although just $85 million of that is expected to be spent on operations, the company said.
The remaining $6.5 billion will be invested in to the building of FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety broadband network when deployment thresholds are met during the next several years.
New Hampshire Authorities Table Rivada Action
New Hampshire state authorities recently tabled a request to enter into a no-cost agreement with Rivada Networks LLC to have the company present an alternative state plan if New Hampshire decides to opt out of having the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) partner build its radio access network (RAN). The request was unanimously tabled at an Aug. 24 meeting of New Hampshire Gov. Margaret Hassan (D.) and the New Hampshire Executive Council.
What is FirstNet? The First Responder Network Authority is an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration created to provide emergency responders with a nationwide, high-speed, broadband network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet claims it will provide a single interoperable platform for emergency and daily public safety communications. The final recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the controversial organization founded in 2012, has been met with harsh criticism.
FCC Takes Action On FirstNet Spectrum Relocation And Invites Comment On State “Opt-Out” Procedures
August 29, 2016
On August 26, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) released a Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that takes important steps toward clearing public safety incumbents from the Band 14 spectrum that has been licensed to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The item also seeks comment on the Commission’s proposals for administering a process for states that choose to deploy their own state-wide radio access networks (RANs). The FCC’s action comes as FirstNet, an independent entity housed within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), continues to review responses to its Request for Proposals (RFP) to deploy, operate and maintain a high-speed nationwide network dedicated to public safety.
August 26, 2016
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association issued the following statement from Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs and Business Development Michael Romano in response to the order released today by the FCC with regard to procedures for commission review of state opt-out requests from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).
“Although NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association hoped the FCC might adopt more specific guidelines for FirstNet deployment in rural areas, we are very pleased that the order released by the commission today recognizes the statutory obligation of FirstNet to ensure ‘substantial rural coverage’ and includes an express commitment to monitor FirstNet’s ongoing compliance with that mandate. FirstNet’s request for proposal contemplates real commitments with respect to rural deployment and leveraging of existing rural network assets, and NTCA’s rural telecom members look forward to working to help FirstNet and its partners achieve those commitments consistent with the vision of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.”
FirstNet board sets nearly $6.6B budget as contract award nears
August 26, 2016
The group working to build a nationwide broadband network for first responders just set a budget of nearly $6.6 billion for the coming fiscal year to help fund the award of a hefty contract to a private provider that will work to build the new network. The governing board of the First Responder Network Authority, commonly known as FirstNet, approved the new budget for fiscal year 2017 Friday. The group plans to spend $85 million to support its regular operations in the new year, with the remaining $6.5 billion allocated for funding the contract award — FirstNet put out a request for proposals in January, and plans to name a winner in November.
IEMA gets $14M+ grant for equipment upgrade
August 24, 2016
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is giving a grant of more than $14 million to fund the relocation of emergency response communication systems.
It's in preparation for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). The award to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is more than half the $26.8 million FirstNet awarded to eight recipients nationwide.
Unreliable Wireless Network Left First Responders High And Dry During Louisiana Floods
August 23, 2016
Today, Louisiana is once again under water. And while some commercial wireless networks have fared better than others, the communications failures during this month’s flooding are a reminder, yet again, of why our first responders need a resilient, reliable and purpose-built wireless network.
Experts: States play key role in coordinating FirstNet, next-gen 911 efforts
August 22, 2016
A panel of public safety communications experts is hoping to see states team up with their first responders to coordinate the two intertwined connectivity efforts.
As states look to team up on the development of a nationwide broadband network for first responders and move to “next-generation” 911 services, IT shops have a key role to play in coordinating these complex projects, according to a panel of public safety communications experts.
FirstNet Board Appointments
August 22, 2016
U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced the reappointment of Jeff Johnson, Sue Swenson, and Teri Takai to the FirstNet Board of Directors. Swenson, the incumbent Chairwoman of the Board, will remain for another two year term. FirstNet also announced that eight grants will be awarded and used to relocate public safety incumbents on 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum.
NPSTC Delves Into Prehospital Video for EMS As FirstNet Approaches
Aug 19, 2016
As efforts continue to roll out the FirstNet 700 MHz broadband communications network for U.S.-based first responders, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) has been studying which applications would be most useful for EMS agencies (among others).
The fruit of the Council's latest effort is the recently released NPSTC report, EMS Telemedicine Report: Prehospital Use of Video Technologies. Spearheaded by the NPSTC EMS Communications Working Group (NPSTC EMSCWG), which is comprised of about 80 volunteers from across the EMS sector, the NPSTC Prehospital Video Report is a research-backed, EMS peer-based enquiry into which applications U.S. EMS professionals would find most useful over FirstNet.
NTIA Officials Outline FirstNet Opt-Out Timeline
August 18, 2016
Officials with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Office of Public Safety Communications (OPSC) detailed a potential timeline for states that choose to opt out of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).
“This is our best thinking now,” State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP) Director Carolyn Dunn said during a session at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International conference in Orlando, Florida. “This is an evolving process, but we want to be transparent.”
The opt-out timeline begins with FirstNet’s delivery of state plans. At that point, each state’s governor will have up to 90 days to decide whether to participate in FirstNet’s contract to build the nationwide broadband network. If a state chooses not to participate in the FirstNet contract, it will be responsible for building and maintaining its own radio access network (RAN) that will tie into the FirstNet core.
FirstNet Board and Finance Committee Special Meeting, August 26, 2016
MEETING INFORMATION: The Board and Finance Committee of the First Responder Network Authority will hold a Special Meeting via telephone conference (teleconference) on August 26, 2016.
DATE: The Special Meeting of the Board and the Finance Committee of the First Responder Network Authority will be held on August 26, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. EDT.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Miller-Kuwana, Board Secretary, FirstNet 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, M/S 243, Reston, VA 20192 Telephone: (571) 665-6177 Email: Karen.Miller-Kuwana@firstnet.gov Please direct media inquiries to Ryan Oremland at (571) 665-6186.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice informs the public that the Board and Finance Committee of FirstNet will hold a Special Meeting via teleconference on August 26, 2016. Members of the public may listen to the meeting by dialing toll free 1.800.369.1808 and using passcode 7
FirstNet names eight recipients in $26.8 million grant program to relocate 700 MHz narrowband systems
August 18, 2016
FirstNet today announced that eight public-safety entities will receive a total of $26.8 million to fund the relocation of their narrowband systems to different 700 MHz frequencies, clearing the airwaves for FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety broadband network that is scheduled to be built during the next several years.
When your hands are full, new technology may let your eyes carry the load
August 17, 2016
Public-safety personnel in the field want the information that broadband applications can deliver, but they often need to keep their heads up and their hands free, precluding the use of typical consumer devices. Motorola Solutions' proof-of-concept virtual-reality demonstration featuring Eyefluence technology may provide the seed of a solution to this problem.
One of the great things about this job is that I get to see lots of cool, innovative technology developed to address the needs of public-safety and critical-infrastructure. As is the case in the commercial world, some of the most intriguing ideas being created come in the form of software applications.
Some of these applications are very ingenious, mining databases to provide public safety with all kinds of potentially useful information—from stats and background checks to pictures and video. As helpful as this information could be, some of these applications have not been adopted by public safety for various operational reasons associated with public safety.
Rivada Mercury Adds Satellite Powerhouse Hughes to Team for Public Safety Initiative
August 17, 2016
Rivada Networks announced today that it has teamed with Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES) to provide satellite services to Rivada Mercury, LLC. Rivada Mercury, LLC is an American company formed by Rivada Networks, Harris Corp., Nokia, Fujitsu Network Communications, and Black & Veatch in order to propose building FirstNet’s nationwide public safety broadband network. Hughes is now part of some two dozen leading telecommunications firms that have teamed together to offer FirstNet a purpose-built, sustainable and affordable network for our nation’s emergency services personnel.
AT&T Enhances Interoperability for Public Sector and Public-Safety Networks
August 16, 2016
First responders, transportation agencies and public departments depend on interoperable LMR solutions to connect and communicate. AT&T now supports Inter RF Subsystem Interface (ISSI), an IP-based, open-standard connection – Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Project 25 (P25), company officials said. APCO P25 is the standard for connectivity among public sector and public safety networks. Following closely on the heels of support for Console Subsystem Interface (CSSI), the CSSI interface lets customers connect dispatch console systems.
NIST develops portable wireless network platform for responders
Aug 16, 2016
Emergency responders setting up a mobile communication network can spend hours configuring a typical cell on wheels system, but a new piece of tech from the National Institute of Standards and Technology could be deployed in a matter of minutes and provide the same benefits, according to people involved with the project.
Motorola Solutions announces new mobile radio, enhancements to its P25 platform
August 15, 2016
Motorola Solutions today will unveil a new P25 mobile radio that operates on its ASTRO 25 systems and will highlight key features enabled by the 7.17 release of ASTRO 25 software today at APCO 2016.
One of the key features of the APX 8500 all-band mobile radio is its ability to leverage LTE connectivity from a VML750 modem installed in the public-safety vehicle, if the ASTRO 25 data capability is interrupted by continuous voice transmissions during a busy incident, according to Anatoly Delm, Motorola Solutions’ director of global infrastructure marketing.
FirstNet Releases State Plans Video
FirstNet has developed a new video about State Plans based on feedback from our consultation and outreach efforts, to outline the key steps and considerations for the States. We hope you find this short video effective in explaining not only the State Plan development process, but also how the public safety community can participate in and impact those discussions.
ADRF Introduces PSR-78-9533 FirstNet Compliant Public Safety 700/800 MHz Channelized Digital Repeater
August 15, 2016
Advanced RF Technologies, Inc. ("ADRF" ), a leading provider of wireless coverage and capacity solutions for commercial and public safety radio frequencies, announced today the launch of the PSR-78-9533, a channelized digital repeater for Public Safety 700 MHz and 800 MHz frequencies including FirstNet. The PSR-78-9533 solves the problem of indoor coverage for public safety communications through a Fire and Life Safety code-compliant platform that supports both Public Safety 700 MHz and 800 MHz bands without interference with commercial cellular networks.
AT&T CFO says operator is well positioned for FirstNet contract
August 11, 2016
AT&T is well positioned to succeed as part of its bid for FirstNet’s business, and it’s working hard to satisfy all the requirements of the bid, the winners of which FirstNet expects to announce by November.
NIST Develops Wireless Communications System for First Responders
August 11, 2016
To demonstrate improvements to emergency communications and foster research on systems that can be quickly placed in strategic locations, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has worked with industry partners to integrate commercial technologies into a mobile wireless communications system. About the size of a large file cabinet, the platform offers more capabilities and faster setup than typical cell on wheels (COW) systems.
APCO says what many in public safety believe, calling story about FirstNet ‘inaccurate’ and ‘inflammatory’
August 11, 2016
Is FirstNet obsolete before being built? APCO certainly does not think so. RFP competition should improve chances that FirstNet vision can become a reality for public safety It’s still early, but the winner of the FirstNet RFP appears to be … public safety... Coordinating cybersecurity efforts between 911 and FirstNet promises to be critical for public safety.
Meet the SME’s – Senior Law Enforcement Advisor Mike Bostic
August 10, 2016
FirstNet is pleased to have Mike Bostic on board as our new senior law enforcement advisor. Chief Bostic has been an advocate for FirstNet’s vision since even before there was a FirstNet. He spent 34 years in the Los Angeles Police Department before starting a second career in the telecommunications industry. From being a beat cop to a chief, Chief Bostic witnessed, firsthand, the make-or-break impact of communications on police work. During his time in the department, Chief Bostic oversaw information technology and facility development used to create a new command and control system. From there, he worked in Raytheon’s open architecture and systems integration division and most recently served as Director of Customer Advocacy at Nokia.
FirstNet Region IV Sub-Regional QPP Meeting
August 10, 2016
A FirstNet Region IV Sub-Regional Quality of Service, Priority and Preemption (QPP) Consultation Task Team (CTT) meeting was held in Atlanta on August 10, 2016. Representatives from FirstNet, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama attended the meeting. Topics of discussion included: QPP CTT Timeline, Regional Engagement Outcomes, QPP Overview, QPP Scenario Discussions, and a brief Questions and Answers session.
Zinwave To Demonstrate Public Safety Wireless Solution at APCO 2016
August 10, 2016
Zinwave, a global provider of wideband distributed network solutions for in-building wireless, today announced that it will showcase its UNItivity Public Safety distributed wireless access solution (DAS) at the APCO 2016 show being held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL on August 14-17. APCO is the world’s premier public safety conference and exhibition, and in booth 809 Zinwave will demonstrate the industry’s only wideband DAS, which supports all public safety and commercial cellular frequencies in one system and can accommodate the addition of future frequencies without the need for hardware upgrades.
FirstNet flying under the radar but ready to soar
August 9, 2016
While most August headlines are focused on the political arena during this election year, let’s not forget that an important public-safety initiative is quietly moving forward. This week, FirstNet will get another important staff member: Bill Schrier, chief technology officer of the Seattle police department.
New Mexico EMS Innovations Conference Highlights Opportunities for FirstNet Implementation
August 9, 2016
Innovation in the medical field is all around us. Every day, new solutions are developed that positively impact the ability of medical professionals and technology to save lives and improve patient outcomes. In my years working as an EMS professional, and in communications, I have experienced firsthand scenarios where we could improve patient care using data, technology and innovations that are being used by the general public every day. As FirstNet continues its outreach and consultation with states and territories, we’re learning from public safety and we are seeing the many ways that healthcare is coming to rely on next-generation tools such as connected devices and smart sensors to help medical professionals provide more effective patient care.
First Responder Information-Sharing Tool Available Worldwide
August 08, 2016
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced the Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS,) an information-sharing tool for first responders, is available worldwide. NICS is a mobile, web-based communications platform that enables responders on scene at a developing incident to request and receive assistance from remote experts, such as a university researcher or topographic expert, in real time. Conversely, experts can observe an evolving situation and volunteer relevant material or resources.
FirstNet Concerns: NetMotion Wireless to Discuss Public Safety LTE and Wi-Fi Roaming at APCO 2016
August 8, 2016
Steve Fallin, Senior Product Manager, NetMotion Wireless, will address how future FirstNet users can keep their apps in contact with data centers while roaming between commercial LTE, private LTE and Wi-Fi networks at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) 2016 in Orlando, August 14-17.
FirstNet is coming – what should local authorities do until it gets here?
August 8, 2016
FirstNet deployments now appear to be on the horizon, and Ceragon Networks looks at what should local entities do in the meantime. Slowly but surely, FirstNet is moving forward. Emphasis on the slowly; work on developing plans to build the nationwide emergency services network began in 2013, and the First Responder Network Authority just recently completed accepting applications for its RFP to build out the network, with all that it entails. And it entails a lot. The company that wins the contract will have to fulfill 16 core tasks, which include everything from building the nationwide public safety broadband network to developing apps for it to ensuring cybersecurity to integrating it with non-FirstNet radio access networks.
FirstNet reviews ICAM and Local Control issues
August 5, 2016
The Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) of the US public safety mobile broadband agency, FirstNet, tasked two teams earlier in 2016 to address critical topics related to the eventual deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN): Identity, Credential and Access Management (ICAM) and Local Control.
IoT Is Next Big Cybersecurity Issue for NTIA
August 4, 2016
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration has tapped the Internet of Things as the next issue to get the multistakeholder model treatment, specifically looking to avoid a patchwork of security patches.
Congress presented with shocking E911 MLTS report by GSA
August 4, 2016
After a three-year delay, the GSA reports federal MLTS systems are mostly not compliant with direct dial 911. After ignoring a Congressional directive for more than three years, as well as an FCC commissioner’s direct request, the General Services Administration (GSA) finally produced a report on the status of 911 dialing in federal buildings. Despite the long delay, the content and quality of the report were disappointing at best.
Ohio officials applaud data experiences during LTE exercise, say voice comms need work
August 3, 2016
Ohio officials gave high marks to situational-awareness applications operating on a temporary Band 14 700 MHz LTE network during a recent exercise, but they said the push-to-talk (PTT) voice communications on the same system need to be improved before they are deployed in a real-world public-safety environment.
Protect & Serve: Supporting Law Enforcement with Real Time IoT
August 1, 2016
Can connected police cars, dashcams, dash computers, body cams, and even holster sensors help society address the recent tragedies in the US? More importantly, can we create and fund real- time information based systems that can help law enforcement predict and prevent events like those which have happened in Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Georgia, New York and other states – so children of innocent citizens and children of innocent cops officers do not have to live without their mothers and fathers?
Setting the Stage: Early Builder Projects Provide FirstNet Education
August 1, 2016
Early Builder programs make it clear that public safety authorities can expect to meet a range of technical and cultural hurdles on the road to FirstNet deployment.
In June 2014 the Adams County, Colo., Communications Center (Adcom911) went live with an LTE network in the 700 MHz band 14 spectrum. In so doing, it became the first successful Early Builder in the congressionally mandated FirstNet program, an effort to deploy and operate a nationwide dedicated public safety broadband network.
FirstNet SPOC Meeting Highlights Engagements
August 1, 2016
First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) officials said in a blog posting today that they met via webinar earlier this week with state and territory single points of contact (SPOCs), and highlighted, among other topics, FirstNet’s metro leadership engagements. They said that David Buchanan, FirstNet’s director of consultation, “stressed the importance of the timing and value of this effort for States, local public safety, and FirstNet,” and “explained that these engagements will help educate and inform local public safety executives and leaders, who in many States are key influencers to the Governors.”
Seattle Police Department CTO Bill Schrier Joins FirstNet
August 1, 2016
As leader of products and services, Schrier will assist with ensuring the agency communicates with and offers the services desired by the nation's first responder agencies. Bill Schrier will join FirstNet as its leader of products and services on August. 8. Once an outspoken skeptic of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), Seattle Police Department (SPD) Chief Technology Officer Bill Schrier will join the organization.
NIST drafts mobile security guidelines for responder tech
August 1, 2016
There’s arguably been no corner of government that’s profited more from the mobile revolution than the first responder community. The ability to quickly access public safety data in the field is critical to first responders’ performance during emergencies.
With those benefits, however, come concerns over how to secure that access. At any one emergency site, there are likely to be a number of public safety personnel from several departments or jurisdictions, all working in different operational environments, using an array of applications on various devices and separate operating systems. That’s a nightmare for sharing, and for securing the highly sensitive information to which responders must all have access.
FirstNet Outlines Plans for Metro Leadership Engagements
August 01, 2016
During a First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) state and territory single points of contact (SPOCs) webinar, FirstNet leadership detailed metro leadership engagements. FirstNet Director of Consultation David Buchanan said the engagements will help educate and inform local public-safety executives and leaders, who in many states are key influencers to the governors. FirstNet will target public-safety officials and first responders serving any metro area interested in a consultation, said a FirstNet spokesman.
Decision on LMR-to-LTE migration for mission-critical voice should be made by public safety, Seybold says
July 28, 2016
Public safety’s mission-critical voice communications someday may be transmitted over FirstNet’s nationwide LTE system, but elected officials and government administrators should not retire land-mobile-radio (LMR) networks until first responders express confidence in the LTE-based offering, according to leading wireless consultant Andrew Seybold. Unfortunately, too many government officials are jumping the gun on the capabilities of public-safety LTE as justification to not fund needed improvements to existing LMR networks, Seybold said today during an IWCE webinar sponsored by Anritsu, Avtec, ESChat and Zetron.
Enhancing Situational Awareness through Advanced Technologies Video
July 28, 2016
For our nation’s first responders, having a common operating picture during emergencies and day-to-day scenarios is essential. When emergencies happen in remote areas, public safety often lacks access to a radio signal or broadband connections that could help with response operations. “There are a lot of remote areas that we have to cover, and sometimes we don’t have the capability,” says Seneca Nation of Indians Fire Chief Presley Redeye. “We use a lot of [global positioning system (GPS) coordinates when we use aeromedical services in the area, but because the GPS Google maps doesn’t work in the area, they’ll put you five or six miles down the road.
FirstNet Coming of Age?
July 26, 2016 / Eric Holdeman
Bill Schrier, the head of the Washington State OneNet Office, has accepted a position with the federal office of FirstNet. In some circles this type of move might not be very newsworthy, but — I think it is. You can check out Bill's reasoning at this blog post, Why I’m Joining FirstNet.
Let me add my own two cents on the why, that Bill did not elaborate on extensively in his messaging. First and foremost, Bill is the type of individual who wants to make a difference. He can have a larger impact by working at the federal level based upon where FirstNet is now in its evolution toward implementation. Second, Bill (like myself) is nearing the end of his professional working career. At present it may appear that he may never stop working, but there is a goal somewhere in the future to retire and do "fun things," whatever that is for Bill.
With the above in mind, he wants to invest his time and energy in efforts that have meaning and a legacy. He sees the potential of FirstNet to bring first responders into the 21st century with digital connectivity. I think that for all the reasons he illuminates in his linked blog posting, it will be a heavy lift, but eventually everyone will need to have the dedicated capabilities that FirstNet will bring to the table, if you are going to be effective in using the digital tools of today and tomorrow. Bill would not go work somewhere that does not have a chance at succeeding.
I'm going to miss having him at the Washington OneNet office, but I'm gratified to know that he will be contributing toward the national effort of FirstNet.
Verizon CEO declines to comment on potential FirstNet role
July 26, 2016
Just days after AT&T formally announced that it has submitted a bid to lead a team seeking to build and operate FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety broadband network, Verizon’s CEO declines to comment on the possible role that his company might play in a FirstNet bid.
FirstNet Opt-Out Public Notice
July 25, 2016
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NITA) issued a Public Notice last week describing alternate routes qualified states may utilize to connect to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The notice explains the preliminary steps in the “rigorous” application process associated with the State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP) for states seeking to construct their own radio access networks (RAN) with funding grants. Comments are due August 18, 2016. FirstNet’s federal consultation lead, Chris Algiere, announced in a blog post a FirstNet forum will be held August 30th and 31st in Phoenix, Arizona at the Bureau of Land Management’s National Training Center. According to Algiere, the southwest border forum is an opportunity for federal agencies to expand consultation beyond the headquarters and directly engage professionals.
AT&T officially announces FirstNet bid
AT&T announces that it has submitted a bid in response to the FirstNet request for proposals (RFP) to build and maintain the much-anticipated nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN), meaning at least three bidding teams are vying for the 25-year deal with FirstNet.
NTIA Requests Feedback on FirstNet Spectrum Capacity Lease, Grant Application
July 22, 2016
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released preliminary guidance on how states can lease spectrum capacity from the First Network Responder Authority’s proposed nationwide emergency services network. The draft guide published Tuesday in the Federal Register outlines the NTIA’s process to evaluate a state’s application for authority to negotiate a spectrum capacity lease agreement with FirstNet and for grant funds to build a radio access network if a state decides to opt out of the public safety network.
Georgia Meets with FirstNet Executives
July 13, 2016
Several Georgia executives involved in public safety interoperability met today with executives from FirstNet, including FirstNet’s President TJ Kennedy. The group discussed FirstNet’s vision for eventual deployment of the system in the nation, as well as specific issues relating to deployment in the State of Georgia. As we near the announcement of FirstNet’s private sector partner(s), State Plans will soon follow. The State Plan process was also discussed at this meeting, including expectations for reviewing drafts of the plan before it is presented to the Governor. Georgia will remain in close contact with FirstNet as State Plans are developed and as the network deployment process begins. Attendees included Colonel Mark McDonough (GA DPS Commissioner), FirstNet President TJ Kennedy, GEMSHA Director Butterworth, Harlan Proveaux, Catherine Howden, Aislynn Turner, and Chuck Murph (FirstNet Region 4 Lead).
How Live-Streaming a Police Shooting Could Change the Narrative
July 8, 2016
In the Bay Area and beyond, law enforcement officials and those tasked with keeping them in check are reaching a consensus about the immediacy of live video: This is the new normal, and it's going to control how these horrific events play out from now on. "These events are now being defined by people in the community," said Walter Katz, San Jose's independent police auditor and a nationally recognized police-accountability advocate. "They're framing the incident within moments of it occurring. This has implications for how government agencies respond, and how media responds."
FirstNet Bid Update – Marching Forward
July 7, 2016
The window for bidding in the First Responder Network Authority’s request for proposals has closed, evaluations are underway and a contract is expected to be awarded by early November if all goes as hoped. The brain-storming phase of the planned nationwide network is morphing into the doing phase, and FirstNet officials are warning that the next 18 months will be a whirlwind of activity and decisions. As momentum surrounding the FirstNet bid gathers, there will be more integral involvement from players in the federal sector, new task teams launched and accelerated outreach to the states and major metropolitan areas to get the right message out to the front lines.
Wireless Companies Join Tech and Security Firms for Big Bid on Emergency Spectrum
June 7, 2016
Companies spanning the telecom, tech, and security industries announced a partnership on Tuesday that seeks to win a $6.5 billion contract to build a national emergency network. Their bid also contains a major economic twist that could, if successful, see the companies shake up how companies buy and sell precious wireless spectrum.
FirstNet Moves Forward Into Evaluation Phase
May 31, 2016
The deadline for submitting proposals for the deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) closed earlier today. With that phase of the procurement now complete, FirstNet is now moving into the remaining phases of the evaluation process and is well on its way to achieving its goal with the Request for Proposals (RFP): to establish a unique public-private partnership to deploy the best possible network for our shareholders – public safety.
FirstNet Makes Progress, But Cost and Quality Concerns Remain
May 18, 2016
FirstNet is moving fast toward its goal of a dedicated nationwide public safety communications network. On May 13, the federal agency published an updated map that gives an overview of the states’ progress in preparing for the network, which is expected to launch within the next couple of years. FirstNet hopes to nail down a 25-year, $100 billion contract before the next election.
You’ll Soon Be Able to Text Photos to Police. But Will You Crash Their Networks?
May 17, 2016
There are several separate efforts to upgrade emergency communication including the ongoing development of FirstNet, a public safety broadband network, and Next Generation 911, the Internet protocol that would let the public send content to emergency responders through the 911 network. But how might the influx of content change public safety officers’ jobs? The impact on training could be significant, said DHS director of the Office of Emergency Communications, Ronald Hewitt.
Ohio Uses FirstNet Video Game to Showcase Public Safety LTE Potential
May 17, 2016
Ohio’s FirstNet program has developed a first-person video game to showcase the potential of FirstNet’s LTE network-to-be, and the value increased access to data and connectivity can have for situational awareness. The game lets players navigate a firefighter training scenario: first, under traditional circumstances with technology a firefighter would be likely to have today, and then with information that could be enabled by a mobile broadband network and applications.
State CIOs Stress FirstNet, Cybersecurity in D.C. Lobbying
May 6, 2016
State chief information officers from around the country are convening in Washington, D.C. Friday, aiming to lobby Congress and learn more from federal officials about emerging cyber threats and efforts to build the “FirstNet” national broadband network for public safety agencies. The “fly-in” will bring more than 40 state IT leaders and staffers to the nation’s capital.
Public Safety Apps: Providing Usable Modern Technology for First Responders
April 25, 2016
Public safety personnel are embracing an array of new technologies in their jobs. Body cameras, in-vehicle computers, smartphone applications, license plate readers, facial recognition technologies, and mobile consoles for fingerprint reading are just some of the innovative tools gaining rapid adoption. The real value of all this technology is to empower the first responder in the field and improve safety, situational awareness, and efficiency. With modern broadband technology, data can be pushed directly to a number of diverse devices, resulting in a seemingly revolutionary shift in operations.
When Do People ‘Need to Know’ about FirstNet? The Sooner, the Better
April 12, 2016
As FirstNet continues to make progress toward selecting a contractor, state and local entities could be just a year away from making important short-term and long-term choices regarding public-safety communications. Conducting outreach to key stakeholders in the interim could be key to those decisions being made with the best information possible.
FirstNet RFP Deadline Extended to May 31
April 11, 2016
FirstNet has extended the deadline for responses to its call for bids for a national public safety LTE network for another two weeks. Request for Proposal (RFP) responses are now due by May 31, and FirstNet still plans to award the roughly $6.5 billion network contract by the first of November.
FirstNet Receives Multiple Capability Statements, ‘Optimistic’ About RFP Competition
March 31, 2016
FirstNet received multiple capability statements from potential offerors—the strongest indication to date that there will be bidders vying for the right to build and maintain FirstNet’s much-anticipated nationwide public-safety broadband networks (NPSBN).
FirstNet Initiates $40 Million Grant to Relocate 700 MHz Band
March 16, 2016
FirstNet announced a $40 million federal grant program that is designed to help 15 public-safety entities move their existing LMR operations from the 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum that is licensed to FirstNet. The goal is to clear those airwaves by August 2017 for use by the contractor that will build and operate the proposed nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN).
The Most Anticipated IT Contracts in 2016
March 8, 2016
FirstNet posted a request for proposal to build the nation’s public-safety broadband network in January, with bids due in April. Fussell calls the timeline for award – by the end of 2016 – “very aggressive,” and said it’s likely the FirstNet group is purposely moving quickly in anticipation of bid protests from telecommunications vendors. FirstNet is valued at some $6.5 billion. It also has a very lengthy period of performance: 25 years.
FirstNet Annual Report to Congress Documents Major Year of Progress
March 2, 2016
FirstNet reports that it has achieved its major Roadmap milestones and more in Fiscal Year 2015. The organization’s accomplishments are summarized in its recently delivered Annual Report to Congress for FY2015.
FirstNet Releases First Set of Answers to RFP Questions; Extends RFP Deadline
February 19, 2016
FirstNet today released the first set of answers to the more than 400 questions it received on its Request for Proposal (RFP) ffor the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network. Additionally, in response to questions received, FirstNet is extending the deadline for submitting capability statements to March 31 and extending the deadline for final RFP proposals to May 13.
Super Bowl Gives Public Safety a Glimpse of FirstNet
February 9, 2016
FirstNet’s LTE network for public safety is getting some early use at major sporting events, with small-scale temporary deployments that are giving first responders a taste of what it’s like to have their own cellular network amid heavy traffic on commercial carriers.
FirstNet Hopes to Select Winning Bidder of NPSBN by November 1
February 5, 2016
There could be two significant historical events this November. On November 8, 2016 the American people will elect the 45th President of the United States. One week earlier, on November 1, FirstNet hopes to select a winning bidder to construct, maintain and operate a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).
Georgia and Its Partners Attend SE U.S. Public Safety Broadband Summit
January 13-14, 2016
Georgia sent seven (7) representatives to participate in the 2016 Southeast U.S. Public Safety Broadband Summit, hosted by Alabama. The event was well attended by 180 public safety attendees from 11 states in the Southeast region. Topics included the FirstNet RFP, consultation in 2016, state plans, a PSAC and Tribal Working Group update, rural coverage, technical updates, State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) update, NG9-1-1, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) use cases, firefighting tactics and fusion centers, early adopter lessons learned, and state updates. The discussion portion of the conference provided a valuable opportunity to hear other states’ strategies and thoughts on the progression of the FirstNet network. From Georgia, representatives attended from the following agencies: Georgia Emergency Management Agency / Homeland Security (GEMA/HS), Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police (GACP), Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, Georgia State Patrol (GSP), Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs (GAFC), and Georgia Association of Emergency Medical Services (GA EMS).
FirstNet Officially Releases Final RFP
January 13, 2016
FirstNet today released its final Request for Proposals (RFP), which lays the groundwork for FirstNet’s partnership with vendor(s) who will help FirstNet build and operate the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN). Company executives, including from Motorola and Intel, have stated this RFP is a major milestone. The RFP document includes more than 50 sections. Proposals to the RFP are due April 29, with questions and capability statements due Feb. 12 and March 17, respectively. FirstNet’s webinar on Friday, January 15 is meant to provide an overview of the document. Slides from the webinar can be accessed here. For a full copy of the solicitation, visit this link.
AT&T Expresses Interest in FirstNet Opportunity, Plans to ‘Pursue it Aggressively’
January 7, 2016
Three of the four nationwide wireless carriers express mixed interest about the upcoming opportunity to partner with FirstNet to construct a nationwide public-safety network, with AT&T being enthusiastic about the prospect, T-Mobile showing more interest in the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction and Verizon declining to comment on the matter.