Public Safety
Wireless Broadband

NYS Public Safety Broadband Newsroom

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December 2018

  • New Report Recommends Standardized User ID Structure for MCPTT2018.12.05
    The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council released a report specific to managing user identification for mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT). The report provides high-level recommendations on the potential use of various MCPTT data fields to manage first responder identity and recommends creating a standard governing the MCPTT ID structure.
  • NIST Releases Draft Report for First Responder Mobile Devices2018.12.04
    The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on Monday released NISTIR 8196, its draft report on the cybersecurity of mobile devices and wearables for first responders, and is seeking comment on the draft until January 7.

November 2018

October 2018

  • Fiber Damage Vexes Verizon After Hurricane Michael2018.10.14
    Hurricane Michael has caused such extensive damage to the fiber that underpins Verizon Communications Inc.’s wireless network that it has stymied the carrier’s efforts to restore service to parts of the hardest-hit areas of the Florida Panhandle.
  • AT&T-FirstNet says 72 deployables are available to subscribers 2018.10.08
    A fleet of 72 deployable cell sites are available to public safety agencies who subscribe to AT&T-FirstNet’s services, according to the carrier. Those network resources are housed at 40 locations around the country and can be delivered within a 14-hour window after an emergency request.

September 2018

  • Will LTE Replace LMR for Critical Communications?2018.09.18
    Coverage, reliability and security are the top concerns for first responders for adopting commercial networks, according to an industry survey, and a market research executive said he doesn’t expect Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks to replace LMR for the next 10 to 15 years.

August 2018

  • Carriers Back Colorado Request for FirstNet Interoperability2018.08.16
    Two regional commercial carriers filed letters of support for a request from the Colorado Public Safety Broadband Governing Body (CPSBGB) that the FCC ensure interoperability for the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN).
  • FirstNet to begin agency-level engagement program with public safety2018.08.08
    FirstNet is launching a new engagement program that calls for the organization’s officials to meet with public-safety agencies throughout the United States to help them “optimize FirstNet inside their agencies,” according to Dave Buchanan, director of the First Responder Network Authority’s advocacy team.

June 2018

  • N.C. Assembly Report Finds Both LMR, FirstNet Necessary; No Duplication2018.06.12
    The North Carolina general assembly’s program evaluation division (PED) released a report that found the state’s 800 MHz mission-critical communications network and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) services are complementary but do not duplicate functionality.
  • Comparing LTE Coverage2018.06.11
    Drive tests compare critical information about commercial carrier broadband performance and coverage.
  • AT&T’s new Flying COW drone to be all-weather disaster insurance2018.06.01
    AT&T has designed an all-weather drone to keep its wireless network “flying” in a disaster. The all-weather Flying COW drone — designed by AT&T with help from manufacturers and first responders — will be one of two types of drones that AT&T will offer for its Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) system.

May 2018

  • AT&T clarifies FirstNet service plans, prioritization for utilities2018.05.11
    Utility companies can subscribe to FirstNet as “extended primary” users of the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) being deployed by AT&T, but utilities would not be eligible to receive preemptive access rights to the system unless such access was activated temporarily by a traditional public-safety entity, according to AT&T.
  • MCPTT Project to Release Demos, SDK2018.05.09
    The first Mission Critical Open Platform (MCOP) software development kit (SDK) release and MCOP application protocol interface (API) will be available at upcoming industry events.
  • FirstNet Tested During Boston Marathon2018.05.03
    Leaders at FirstNet, the nation’s emerging high-speed first responder communications network, are declaring a win in their biggest public demonstration to date.
  • Public Safety Advocate: Is LMR Old and Out of Date? LTE the Future?2018.05.03
    For the past few weeks I have been talking with folks in D.C., states, and locally about FirstNet and if and when it will replace Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems. I have found that among those not directly involved with public safety and do not have much, if any, technical background, there is a great deal of confusion surrounding LMR, FirstNet, and the limited amount of spectrum available to us.

April 2018

  • AT&T, FirstNet aim to boost app ecosystem with hackathons2018.04.20
    More than 200 developers and public safety officials recently gathered in San Francisco to work on developing new applications for first responders. It was the first official hackathon for FirstNet, which seeks to support a comprehensive ecosystem of relevant applications for public safety as one of its goals to improve critical communications with mobile broadband access.
  • AT&T Signs New Crown Castle Agreement to Speed FirstNet Buildout2018.04.11
    AT&T and Crown Castle signed a new agreement simplifying and expanding their long-term leasing deal for wireless network infrastructure. Under the new agreement, leasing management and operations are streamlined to allow AT&T to efficiently deploy new technologies and increase network capacity, a statement said.
  • Public-safety communications veterans launch FirstNet Association2018.04.03
    Longtime public-safety communications representatives announce the creation of the FirstNet Association, an organization that founders hope will provide a platform for end users and vendors to discuss issues associated with the FirstNet nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN).

March 2018

  • Is FirstNet secure enough for law enforcement?2018.03.06
    Although California eventually decided to opt into the FirstNet national public-safety wireless broadband network, the director of California’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) has raised concerns about FirstNet’s compliance with Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) requirements.

February 2018

  • AT&T outlines financial terms of FirstNet deal in annual SEC filing2018.02.22
    AT&T will pay FirstNet $18 billion in sustainability payments during the next 25 years, and the company expects $15 billion of that total will be returned to AT&T to pay for FirstNet upgrades, while less than $3 billion is projected to be used to fund FirstNet’s organizational operations, according to an AT&T regulatory filing.
  • AT&T Targets Developers with Apps for FirstNet App Catalog2018.02.16
    The head of AT&T’s application developer program for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) outlined details on the program and how developers can become involved during a Feb. 15 webinar with RadioResource Media Group.
  • AT&T Promises Rural Areas to Be Priority in FirstNet Buildout2018.02.13
    Rural deployment will not be an afterthought to urban deployment during the buildout of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), AT&T, FirstNet and state officials said during a webinar hosted by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA).
  • AT&T CEO highlights FirstNet role as ‘foundation’ to carrier’s 5G plans2018.02.01
    FirstNet was AT&T’s top strategic initiative last year, and the telecom giant has begun construction of the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN), which will “prove to be the foundation for taking wireless network performance to a completely new level,” according to AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson

January 2018

  • AT&T, FirstNet cast doubt on rival's participation2018.01.23
    As FirstNet contractor AT&T begins rolling out services for the national wireless broadband network for first responders, it is pushing back against rival Verizon's statements about alternate first responder offerings.
  • Report on MCPTT over LTE Integration with LMR Networks Released2018.01.18
    The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) released a new report detailing the issues and requirements regarding integration and interoperability between LMR systems and Long Term Evolution (LTE) mission-critical push to talk (MCPTT) services
  • Public-safety representatives contest recent Verizon claims about its first-responder offerings2018.01.10
    Recent statements attributed to Verizon in the media that the carrier’s broadband service is the only public-safety-grade LTE network and that its planned public-safety LTE core network may be interoperable with the FirstNet system “suggest things that are simply not there,” according to a presentation to the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC).
  • AT&T Executive Outlines Initiatives for FirstNet, IoT2018.01.09
    An AT&T executive said the carrier plans to bridge public safety with the internet of things (IoT), saying First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) users can tap IoT to connect with “the world around them like never before.”
  • FirstNet and AT&T moving forward with IoT, smart city offerings2018.01.03
    “FirstNet will not only solve today’s communications challenges, but it will create a new, public safety-focused marketplace that offers innovative, life-saving technologies that will help first responders do their jobs safely and more effectively, as well as connect them to the internet of things and smart cities infrastructure, as needed,” wrote FirstNet’s CEO Mike Poth wrote this week.
  • Rivada, Verizon undeterred by FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety sweep2018.01.03
    Last week AT&T and FirstNet secured public-safety agreements with all of the nation’s 50 states, as well as two U.S territories and Washington, D.C. Rivada and Verizon, which had both been working to offer an alternative to FirstNet, continue forward in the public safety marketplace.

December 2017

November 2017

  • Vermont becomes 32nd state to make FirstNet ‘opt-in’ announcement2017.11.29
    Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announces that he has accepted the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T on behalf of his state, making Vermont the 32nd state—not including two territories—to “opt-in” to the FirstNet system.
  • AT&T Signs on FirstNet Subscribers, Pricing Details Available2017.11.14
    AT&T has signed up the first subscribers in several First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) opt-in states and is offering trial services to other customers. Several state contracting vehicles are publicly available as well, although each agency negotiates individual agency pricing with AT&T.
  • Key Issues Surrounding Verizon's Concerns with FirstNet 2017.11.01
    In a submitted letter to the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Don Brittingham, Vice President of Public Safety Policy for Verizon, outlines some of the key issues surrounding their concerns with FirstNet.

October 2017

  • Verizon meets with FirstNet, but interoperability questions remain2017.10.03
    Verizon officials had “very productive discussions” with FirstNet during the latter part of September, but it remains unclear whether users of Verizon’s announced public-safety broadband offering will be able to interoperate seamlessly and securely with subscribers on the FirstNet system being built and operated by AT&T.

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

  • FirstNet’s Sue Swenson expresses confidence in AT&T’s ability to make network vision a reality2017.06.13
    When AT&T won the nationwide FirstNet contract, some expressed concern that the telecommunications giant could be so focused on its massive commercial business that the public-safety initiative would be overshadowed. FirstNet Chairwoman Sue Swenson says early indications from AT&T officials make her confident that the carrier has the proper public-safety-centric focus to build the public-safety broadband network.
  • AT&T seeks tough standards for FirstNet opt-outs2017.06.02
    AT&T, which won the $6.5 billion contract to build and operate the planned wireless broadband public safety network FirstNet, wants tough standards for states that want to opt out and build their own systems.

May 2017

  • FirstNet begins to build its ecosystem2017.05.18
    "FirstNet is in the process of putting together its own ecosystem," FirstNet board member Teri Takai said at a May 17 event in Washington D.C. "There will be a developer platform, there’ll be testing and certification, there’ll be an app store for distribution of those applications.... That infrastructure is going to be important. "

April 2017

  • Drone update: AT&T adds larger drones with more radios2017.04.25
    AT&T is adding more radios to its cell sites on wings, or COWs as the company likes to call them. The latest COW tests took place in Houston, where AT&T’s network disaster recovery team worked with first responders to practice recovering from the loss of an entire central office facility.
  • FirstNet Shares Best Practices With Global Peers2017.04.19
    While FirstNet and AT&T begin work to bring a dedicated, wireless broadband network to public safety nationwide, other countries are pursuing similar nationwide systems and are looking to FirstNet for best practices.
  • Key takeaways from the FirstNet-Rivada Mercury ruling2017.04.03
    A public ruling issued in the pre-award bid protest case of Rivada Mercury offers more insight into the process that ultimately resulted in AT&T last week being awarded the contract for the nationwide public safety LTE network under the auspices of the First Responders Network Authority.

March 2017

  • FirstNet, NTIA officials provide insights to ‘opt-out’ process on eve of award announcement2017.03.30
    States and territories will have critical financial-obligation information regarding payments to FirstNet for the use of spectrum and core network assets as governors decide whether their states should pursue the ‘opt-out’ alternative to the nationwide FirstNet deployment, officials for FirstNet and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said yesterday.
  • FirstNet Passes Resolution to Finalize Contract for Nationwide LTE Network.2017.03.28
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board passed a resolution Tuesday giving FirstNet CEO Mike Poth the authority to finalize the contract for a nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN). During the meeting, Poth said he would work to finalize the contract within the week.
  • Maximizing the potential of the NPSBN and NG9112017.03.13
    Both the next-generation 911 (NG911) and the nationwide public-safety broadband networks (NPSBN) promise to be game-changing public-safety communications networks. They will be even better, if they are integrated properly.

February 2017

  • All eyes on court as decision time approaches in FirstNet case2017.02.09
    Next week, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims is expected to receive the final written brief in the lawsuit filed by Rivada Mercury protesting the FirstNet procurement process. How long will it be until the court reaches a decision, which promises to impact the timing of FirstNet's deployment nationwide?

January 2017

  • AT&T expresses optimism about FirstNet prospect, might accelerate deployment with tax reform2017-01-26
    Top AT&T executives yesterday noted that the possibility of the carrier winning the nationwide FirstNet award is one of several “potentially very good things” that could happen this year. Another is tax reform that would lead to the telecom giant paying a lower corporate tax rate, allowing the company to invest the money necessary to accelerate the deployment of various initiatives, including the potential FirstNet buildout.
  • Filings in Rivada Protest of FirstNet RFP Sealed2017-01-20
    Protest filings proceed on schedule as the third of five required submittals is entered into the record in Rivada’s pre-award protest of FirstNet's contract award for the National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).
  • FirstNet Aims to Help with Innovative Public Safety Apps 2017-01-13
    In addition to building a broadband network for public safety personnel, FirstNet is also leading the way on a host of public safety-focused technologies, not the least of which is bringing to market the best possible software applications for public safety to use in emergencies and day to day scenarios.
  • CES 2017: Officials Talk FirstNet, Public Safety Technology2017-01-05
    As electronics giants revealed their latest partnerships and products at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, a group of public safety professionals gathered for an update on FirstNet and a panel discussion about what’s needed, and how industry might fill that need.

December 2016

  • FirstNet opens $30M grant for broadband apps and innovations2016-12-28
    In order to harness ideas from academia, nonprofits and the private sector, NIST has established a $30 million grant fund for organizations that can deliver digital tools for the nation's first public-safety communications network.
  • Why FirstNet is Needed Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow 2016-12-09
    As FirstNet progresses toward the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband Network (“Network”), here are what one 29-year fire service communications veteran believes 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.

November 2016

  • FirstNet Lab opens for public safety testing2016-11-10
    The First Responders Network Authority opened a testing lab where devices and applications will be evaluated for use on the planned national public safety LTE network.

October 2016

  • Need for FirstNet Greater Than Ever, First Responders Say2016-10-20
    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.
  • pdvWireless dropped from FirstNet consideration2016-10-19
    pdvWireless, one of three publicly confirmed companies leading a bidding team that was vying for the right to build FirstNet’s nationwide network for public safety, this week received official written notice that its proposal no longer is being considered for the FirstNet award, according to the company’s latest SEC filing.
  • Rivada Tells Its Bandwidth Commoditization Story2016-10-19
    Mobile bandwidth is too important to leave in the hands of a powerful few when it could be used far more efficiently via an electronic trading marketplace. At least that’s how Rivada Networks sees it.
  • NASEMSO Announces Resolutions Supporting CARES and FirstNet2016-10-11
    At its recent Fall Meeting, the National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO) passed resolutions on two important issues, one of which champions the First Responder Network Authority as the nationwide broadband network for EMS.

September 2016

  • IAFC Votes to Support FirstNet 2016-09-08
    As the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the IAFC has voted to support the enhancement of communications for responders.
  • FirstNet’s first steps2016-09-06
    This article looks at FirstNet’s five Early Builder projects for lessons learned. Focusing on different aspects of first responder use, the projects will help FirstNet evaluate technical standards and capabilities, test new equipment and refine plans for future rollouts.

August 2016

  • NPSTC Delves Into Prehospital Video for EMS As FirstNet Approaches 2016-08-19
    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).
  • Setting the Stage: Early Builder Projects Provide FirstNet Education 2016-08-01
    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.

July 2016

June 2016

  • Big-picture question about FirstNet’s commercial role bubbles to the surface2016-06-29
    After years of asking FirstNet officials whether it will build a nationwide public-safety network, federal lawmakers last week asked whether the FirstNet system would compete with existing commercial telecom providers. Yes, it will—just as Congress ordered when it established FirstNet more than four years ago.
  • FirstNet CEO Poth Testifies Before Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications2016-06-21
    FirstNet CEO Mike Poth testified before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet at a hearing titled, “FirstNet Oversight: An Update on the Status of the Public Safety Broadband Network." In his remarks, Mike stressed the importance of remembering that “this is not FirstNet’s network; this is public safety’s network. The public safety community fought for the creation of FirstNet, and it is up to us to achieve their vision.”

May 2016

April 2016

  • Tech Talk: Updated Vehicular Network System Vision (VNS)2016-04-07
    The VNS is a new product concept meant to address the communication needs of remote first responders immediately when they respond to incidents that are outside of terrestrial coverage, or if traditional coverage has become unavailable due to a natural or man made disaster. This blog describes FirstNet’s vision for the Vehicle Network System (VNS) role in incident deployment and coverage extension options.
  • FirstNet outlines its device approval process 2016-04-05
    Mobile carriers routinely conduct mobile device approval processes to verify that a device meets certain technical specifications and works well with their networks, so it makes sense that the nation's first Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) would do so as well.

March 2016

  • APTS Members Pledge to Support FirstNet; NPR Is Involved2016-03-16
    Last month America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) committed to set aside spectrum for an upcoming first-responders network. The stations committed—at least in principle—to each allocating 1 Mbps of spectrum for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), nationwide public safety network.

February 2016

  • Early Builders Blog: LA-RICS Demonstration at the Tournament of Roses Parade2016-02-25
    The annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California and its hundreds of thousands of spectators proved to be a prime case study for the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Authority (LA-RICS) BTOP project use by multiple public safety agencies during a large public venue.

January 2016

  • Does the FirstNet RFP Address States’ Coverage Objectives?2016-01-26
    Several state single points of contact (SPOCs) are generally happy with the coverage details included in the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) request for proposals (RFP), released earlier this month. The timeline for buildout is one area of concern, however.
  • FirstNet Issues RFP for the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network2016-01-13
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today issued its Request for Proposals (RFP) for the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network, marking a major step forward in FirstNet's efforts to modernize communications for first responders and other public safety personnel across the U.S. 
  • AT&T expresses interest in FirstNet opportunity, plans to ‘pursue it aggressively’2016-01-07
    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.

December 2015

  • FirstNet works around lack of data, applications standards2015-12-18
    The NPSBN will be based upon open, standards-based technology, but a complete set of standards aren't yet available to assure interoperability. Specifically, standards exist for network infrastructure and services but not for data access and applications.
  • NTIA proposes rules to review, approve FirstNet fees each year2015-12-15
    Many key FirstNet fees will be reviewed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to determine whether the fees generate enough revenue to cover FirstNet’s expenses but are not excessive, according to an NTIA proposal that will be the subject of a public proceeding for the next month.

November 2015

  • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to the NPSBN2015-11-23
    Recognizing that the public safety user community will demand support for personal devices on the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN), FirstNet is taking steps to develop and implement an effective BYOD policy.
  • NPSTC - Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, November 21, 20152015-11-21
    The big news for the week has to be the continued crumbling of LA-RICS. According to an article in Urgent Communications. ) LA City opted out of the LA-RICs consortium by a vote of 12-0. The immediate impact to LA-RICS and to Motorola is the loss of the City of LA for the construction of the new LA-RICS LMR radio system. The City says that they can save money by enhancing their own existing LMR system instead of spending money with LA-RICS.
  • FirstNet remains focused on year-end RFP release, officials say2015-11-12
    FirstNet still plans to release its much-anticipated final request-for-proposal (RFP) document by the end of this year as preparation continues for the FirstNet board meeting that is scheduled to be conducted in less than four weeks, according to a spokesman for the organization.

October 2015

  • FirstNet Gets 40 Responses to Cyber Appendix2015-10-24
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has received 40 submissions from industry and states in response to a draft appendix that it released earlier this month (TRDaily, Oct. 5).
  • Spotlight: Legal interpretations make it unlikely states, territories will opt out of FirstNet2015-10-21
    Last week, the board responsible for standing up a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for first responders, or FirstNet, issued 64 legal interpretations under the law mandating the network. Among them, reports Donny Jackson at Urgent Communications, were indicators that "opting out" of the nationwide network is not really a practical option for states and territories. 
  • Kennedy: FirstNet Pleased with FCC Auction Anti-Collusion Guidance2015-10-20
    First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) President TJ Kennedy said on October 19 that the authority is pleased with guidance that FCC staff released earlier this month concerning whether parties would violate the agency’s anti-collusion rules surrounding the incentive auction if they also had discussions regarding FirstNet’s request for proposals (RFP) (TRDaily, Oct. 6).
  • Congress grants five-year extension for LA-RICS, other BTOP grant recipients2015-10-19
    Although the initial deployment phase of its public-safety LTE system essentially is done, the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) has secured a five-year extension from Congress that will let it and other Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant recipients utilize unspent funds through fiscal year 2020.
  • FirstNet CTO optimistic for smartphone partnerships2015-10-19
    According to FirstNet's acting Chief Technology Officer Jeff Bratcher, the organization "would love" iPhones to support the network's Band 14 spectrum, but says implementing the technology is a "chicken and egg discussion."
  • FirstNet Releases Dozens of Final Interpretations2015-10-16
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today released two public notices that include more than 60 final legal interpretations on issues raised in public notices released in September 2014 and in March (TRDaily, Sept. 17, 2014, and March 9). 
  • FirstNet: Final Interpretations Include State Input2015-10-13
    Officials from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) said the 64 final legal interpretations set to be released in the next few days include changes based on input from states and territories, specifically rural and coverage interpretations. Staff also outlined the state consultation plan for 2016.
  • FirstNet: Final Interpretations Include State Input2015-10-13
    Officials from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) said the final legal interpretations set to be released soon include changes based on input from states, specifically rural and coverage interpretations. FirstNet staff also outlined the state consultation plan for 2016.
  • NPSTC Sends Local Control Needs and Use Cases to PSAC2015-10-13
    The Act establishing the First Responder Network Authority requires FirstNet to actively consult with public safety about its various needs. The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) has been working on broadband requirements since 2009 and presents its latest report and recommendations to the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) for consideration by FirstNet.
  • Rural carriers still trying to assess FirstNet opportunity2015-10-08
    Less than a week after the FirstNet board approved a nationwide procurement strategy to build its public-safety broadband network, rural carriers remain hopeful that FirstNet’s stated interest in their infrastructure assets will mean they have a chance to partner in the massive project, panelists said yesterday at the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) conference.
  • FIRSTNET TEAM ISSUES LIST OF CYBER CONCERNS2015-10-07
    A proposed broadband network for the nation's public-safety professionals must be robust against intrusions -- but not so much it prevents those professionals from accessing it in emergencies, according to a new notice from FirstNet, the federal group planning it.
  • FirstNet says opt-out states must share revenues, meet nationwide network policies2015-10-05
    ​A state or territory that chooses the FirstNet opt-out alternative—thereby agreeing to build out the LTE radio access network (RAN) in its jurisdiction—will have to comply with all of FirstNet’s nationwide network policies and will not be able to keep all revenues generated within its boundaries, according to final legal interpretations approved by the FirstNet board.
  • FirstNet opts for nationwide acquisition approach for final RFP2015-10-02
    FirstNet board members approve a resolution to accept only national deployment offers for its final request for proposal (RFP), removing the possibility that a bidder could be selected to build out the network for a single state or region.

September 2015

  • Equipping Volunteer Responders with Broadband Technologies2015-09-23
    Volunteer first responders play an important role in keeping our communities safe, particularly in rural areas. FirstNet team members recently had the opportunity to join the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad (WVRS) in Maryland to get a firsthand look at how wireless broadband is already improving emergency response for this volunteer agency.
  • FirstNet in Action: JerseyNet Broadband Network Provides Unobstructed Data Connectivity to First Responders during Atlantic City Concerts2015-09-02
    New Jersey’s first-ever real-world implementation of FirstNet was an unqualified success, setting a precedent for effectively using the National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) to improve communications, security and situational awareness at large-scale public events. The Atlantic City Police Department, in conjunction with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP), deployed secure and portable technology during two concerts, allowing reliable, uninterrupted transmission of video, voice and radio communications without reliance on commercial broadband providers. The concerts - Maroon 5 on August 16 and Rascal Flatts on August 20 - took place in front of a combined audience of nearly 100,000 fans.

August 2015

  • FirstNet shares more business-case information during Industry Day event2015-08-28
    Partnering with FirstNet is a way for wireless providers to gain access to valuable spectrum assets in less time and with less upfront costs than traditional methods, such as bidding in FCC auctions, FirstNet officials told industry representatives yesterday during an Industry Day event.
  • FirstNet May Alter Final RFP after Feedback2015-08-19
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) may alter its final request for proposals (RFP) after getting feedback from parties after it is released at the end of this year, a FirstNet official said today during a session at the APCO 2015 show. James Mitchell, senior program manager-operations for FirstNet, unveiled a planned timeline leading up to the submission of offeror proposals in response to the final RFP. An industry day is scheduled for Aug. 27.
  • U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces Members to Serve on FirstNet Board2015-08-19
    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today named four leading experts on public safety, wireless broadband communications, and state and local government to serve three-year terms on the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board. FirstNet is an independent authority within Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) mandated by Congress to develop, build and operate the first nationwide wireless public safety broadband network. The network will enable better communication among local, state, regional, tribal, and national emergency services personnel, improving response time and saving lives.
  • NPSTC issues response to FirstNet draft RFP2015-08-10
    US public safety comms body the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) hassubmitted comments to the First Responder Network Authority’s Special Notice, which explains the proposed design and operation of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN).
  • Mader Joins FirstNet Board of Directors2015-08-07
    David Mader joined the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board of directors as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designee to the board. Mader replaces Geovette Washington, who took a position at the University of Pittsburgh.

July 2015

  • FirstNet developing base stations for police cars, but deployment still several years away2015-07-23
    FirstNet, which has been tasked with building a nationwide LTE network for emergency workers, is working to create portable cellular base stations that can ride inside police cars and other vehicles, thereby allowing emergency workers to quickly and easily deploy wireless networks in remote areas. However, FirstNet said the technology likely won't be deployed for several more years.
  • Cost, coverage will be key to public-safety adoption of FirstNet2015-07-16
    FirstNet is tasked with building a nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety, but cost and coverage—not just prioritized service—will be critical factors in determining first responders’ willingness to subscribe to the much-anticipated FirstNet system.
  • FirstNet Video Blog: Data Collection2015-07-16
    FirstNet is pleased to present the following video on the data collection effort that is to be completed by September 30, 2015. FirstNet developed this video to review the key elements of data collection and explain its importance to FirstNet and public safety agencies at all levels of government. 
  • FirstNet helping to develop mobile communications systems as part of nationwide network 2015-07-14
    The organization behind a national effort to build an interoperable broadband communications network for police, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders is also looking to develop mobile systems that would provide temporary coverage for emergency personnel when they're outside the network.
  • How FirstNet Will Broaden Communications2015-07-01
    Step by step, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is slogging its way to creating a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) in the 700MHz band. “Sometimes it feels like things are moving at light speed,” says Kevin McGinnis, FirstNet board member, paramedic and chief of Maine’s North East Mobile Health Services. “Other times, it’s like a long, slow march.”
  • FirstNet studying methods to improve location detection in tall buildings, underground 2015-07-01
    Pinpointing locations inside skyscrapers or in subway tunnels can be difficult even for first responders using mobile devices' location-based functions. Now, officials at the First Responder Network Authority, or FirstNet, are looking at ways to overcome those obstacles.
  • FirstNet Releases More Draft RFP Answers2015-07-01
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today released the third batch of answers to questions concerning the draft request for proposals (RFP) and special notice it released April 27.

June 2015

  • FirstNet Moving Quickly To Answer 650+ Questions on Special Notice with Draft RFP Documents2015-06-18
    On April 27th, FirstNet released its Special Notice with Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) documents and opened up the document for questions and comments, and solicited capabilities statements. FirstNet has made it a matter of policy that engagement with industry, the states and territories, the public safety community, and other market participants is key to the development of the RFP.
  • FirstNet finds its footing, officials say 2015-06-17
    The First Responder Network Authority, known as FirstNet, continued its march through Congress this week with a stop at a House subcommittee, where officials largely lauded its progress.
  • Uses and ethics of cameras in ambulances2015-06-15
    Here are some current and future benefits of audio or video recording of EMS calls, and legal questions your department should ask before installing cameras
  • FirstNet Answers First Batch of Questions on Draft RFP2015-06-13
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today released the first batch of answers to questions it received about the draft request for proposals (RFP) and special notice it released in April 27. The authority said last week that it received 642 questions on the documents.
  • House Subcommittee to Hold FirstNet Hearing June 16 2015-06-10
    The House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology scheduled a hearing at 2 p.m. June 16 on the progress of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The Senate held a FirstNet hearing in March.
  • FirstNet Searching for Private Sector Partnership 2015-06-08
    On May 14, 2015, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) held its first “Industry Day” session since the release of its draft request for proposals (RFP) for a comprehensive network solution to build, deploy and operate a nationwide interoperable broadband network for first responders.
  • Wireless carriers may hesitate to partner with FirstNet, analysts say2015-06-01
    Despite public-safety officials' praise of commercial wireless options as potential partners for FirstNet, the country's first nationwide broadband first-responder network, analysts believe wireless network providers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint may be hesitant to take on the responsibility.

May 2015

  • NIST develops first 'roadmap' for public safety communications research2015-05-26
    The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published the first "roadmap" for the next 20 years of research needed to establish seamless, broadband public safety communications networks across the United States. The new roadmap, the first of a planned series on relevant technologies, focuses on location-based services to improve situational awareness for police, firefighters, emergency medical services and other first responders.
  • House subcommittee OKs bill aimed at improving interoperable first responder communications 2015-05-17
    A House Homeland Security subcommittee last week unanimously approved bi-partisan legislation aimed at improving interoperable communications for first responders.
  • FirstNet sheds light on financial challenges during Industry Day event2015-05-15
    FirstNet is seeking partnerships that ensure the nationwide public-safety broadband network is financially sustainable in the long term and provides first responders with “the best price possible” for service, officials said during a meeting yesterday with attendees interested in responding to the FirstNet draft RFP.
  • FirstNet Holds Successful First Industry Day2015-05-15
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today held its first “Industry Day” with interested parties on the Special Notice and draft Request for Proposals (RFP) documents. More than 425 representatives from federal, state, local jurisdictions, associations, and the vendor community participated in person or via webcast.
  • Deadline Extended for State Data Collection for FirstNet Planning2015-05-12
    Officials are giving states an additional two months for initial data collection sought by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The original deadline had been July 31; the new deadline will be Sept. 30. A number of state officials had complained that the earlier deadline would make it difficult for them to collect sufficient data to be considered in FirstNet’s final request for proposals (RFP), which is expected to be released by the end of 2015.
  • End of 2016 FirstNet Contracts?2015-05-06
    First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) acting Executive Director TJ Kennedy said today that it’s too early to predict whether the authority might be able to award a contract or contracts by the end of next year to deploy a nationwide public safety broadband network.

April 2015

  • GAO report identifies several FirstNet challenges, ignores multiple key factors2015-04-30
    In its latest report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) does a good job of summarizing most of the business-model challenges facing FirstNet. However, it missed some big factors that could impact FirstNet, including the potential impact that mission-critical voice over LTE could have on public-safety adoption.
  • State CIOs Seek Help on Cyber, Answers on FirstNet2015-04-29
    State CIOs hope to secure more federal support for cybersecurity efforts, more details about FirstNet and more options for broadband grants as they meet with officials in Washington, D.C., this week.
  • FirstNet 'State Points of Contact' Hold First Meeting2015-04-21
    BLOG REPORT - The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) conducted its first-ever meeting of “state points of contact” or SPOCs (pronounced like “Mr. Spock”) in Reston, Virginia, this past week.
  • FirstNet board to consider draft RFP, ‘public-safety-entity’ notice during special meeting on Friday2015-04-21
    FirstNet board members will conduct a special teleconference meeting on Friday, when they are expected to consider approving the FirstNet’s much-anticipated draft request for proposal (RFP), according to a FirstNet official. In addition, the board will consider issuing a follow-up public notice to get more input about who should qualify as a “public-safety entity” that can get priority access to FirstNet’s nationwide public-safety broadband network.
  • LA County board approves revised LA-RICS public-safety LTE proposal2015-04-15
    Los Angeles County board supervisors approve a 63-site “corrective action plan” (CAP) that Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS) officials have proposed to revive the suspended public-safety LTE project. LA-RICS has submitted the plan to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for approval.

March 2015

  • First responders test future public safety net2015-03-24
    When a vehicle turned up where it shouldn’t have during a ski competition in Colorado in February, new mobile broadband technology made the difference between a scramble by police to locate the vehicle and a quick, more targeted search from first responders.
  • Firefighters’ union claims of RF dangers jeopardizes LA-RICS public-safety LTE project2015-03-23
    Complaints from a firefighters union that radio-frequency (RF) emissions from LTE sites being installed at several Los Angeles-area fire stations are a health hazard could derail the regional public-safety LTE system, according to an official with the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS), which is building the network.
  • Authorized access to FirstNet communications network, devices is key during development 2015-03-18
    A recently released report that lays out 10 principles for a network access and credentialing strategy will be considered by the First Responder Network Authority as it plans development of a nationwide public safety communications network, an official with the group writes in a March 16 blog post.
  • Sue Swenson: FirstNet RFP Could Come Later This Year2015-03-13
    Sue Swenson, chairwoman of the First Responder Network Authority board, has said a final solicitation for the nationwide FirstNet emergency response service could be ready in the latter part of 2015, Urgent Communications reported Wednesday.
  • FirstNet Board Approves Release of Second Public Notice and Seeks Comments2015-03-13
    As part of its ongoing efforts to consult with stakeholders, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board today approved for release a second Public Notice (Second Notice) seeking comment on important interpretations of FirstNet’s enabling legislation, including public safety customer, operational, and funding considerations related to states or territories assuming responsibility for radio access network (RAN) deployment.
  • IAFC President: FirstNet is Critically Important to Public Safety 2015-03-11
    International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) President and Chairman of the Board G. Keith Bryant today testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that FirstNet’s goal of building a nationwide public-safety broadband network to meet first responders’ needs is critically important for public safety.
  • Hearing on Public Safety Broadband Network Progress2015-03-11
    Representatives of federal agencies and first responder groups testified at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing hearing on progress made toward establishing the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which aimed to be the first nationwide wireless broadband network for public safety. 
  • FirstNet meets with tribal representatives as part of effort to build public safety, wireless network 2015-03-04
    Early last week, the independent government board tasked with overseeing development of a nationwide, wireless broadband public safety network, met with a half dozen members of tribal organizations, one of the stakeholder groups that's helping develop the communications system.

February 2015

  • FirstNet to Look at Public Safety Entity Definition in Further Notice2015-02-28
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) plans to issue another public notice further exploring issues related the definition of public safety entity, a FirstNet official said today at the National Emergency Number Association’s 911 Goes to Washington event. 
  • Question of FirstNet funding now moot, thanks to successful FCC spectrum auction 2015-02-04
    Far surpassing estimated revenues, the Federal Communications Commission raised a staggering $44.9 billion in a recent wireless spectrum auction with some of the proceeds earmarked for the development of a nationwide, interoperable network for first responders.
  • Nationwide broadband network aims to shepherd public safety into the 21st Century2015-02-02
    When last week’s nor’easter dumped about two feet of snow and brought hurricane-force winds to the island of Nantucket, the town’s modern day communication systems didn’t stand a chance. It’s the kind of crisis situation that FirstNet is mandated to address so public safety can respond more effectively in the future.

January 2015

  • FirstNet gives responders access to commercial technology2015-01-28
    Imagine if a police officer could send the location of a fleeing suspect to other officers while perusing the suspect on foot.  Or if medical personnel caring for a patient inside an ambulance could video conference with doctors in the emergency room en route to the hospital? 
  • Colorado to demo LTE safety network2015-01-28
    FirstNet Colorado, along with public safety agencies in Vail and Eagle counties, will demo a dedicated wireless broadband data network for emergency response, giving first responders the chance to use next generation LTE devices that will bring the power of broadband data to local, tribal, state and federal responders.
  • FirstNet opens to feds, DHS on board2015-01-22
    FirstNet formally initiated a federal consultation process this week with more than a dozen federal departments and agencies to see how they can best take advantage of the nationwide public safety network.
  • DHS eyes FirstNet to expand mobile capabilities2015-01-21
    Officials at the Department of Homeland Security believe the forthcoming national broadband network for emergencies and public safety could be a way to expand mission capabilities across its component agencies.
  • FirstNet to Bring the Power of Advanced Mobile Technologies to Law Enforcement 2015-01-16
    Smart mobile technology, constantly driven forward by the marketplace, holds great promise for public safety. This is particularly true in law enforcement where officers spend most of their time in the field on the move in cars, on motorcycles, or on foot. However, public safety needs a modern, wireless, high-speed public safety communications network to support these devices before it can even begin to leverage all of the benefits they offer. That’s where FirstNet comes in.
  • Emergency communications take multipath approach2015-01-12
    The Department of Homeland Security recently updated  its National Emergency Communications Plan. Over 350 federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as private sector stakeholders participated in developing the updated NECP – the first update since 2008.
  • Dramatic changes in LTE landscape bust myths, provide FirstNet with new options2015-01-08
    The commercial wireless industry has experienced a remarkable amount of change in recent years with the deployment of LTE and other technologies, shattering many long-held assumptions about the industry. The impact of these changes seem certain to impact FirstNet officials as key decision are made this year.
  • FirstNet to 911 leaders: Call your SPOC2015-01-06
    Public-safety answering point (PSAP) leaders have a role to play in the development of the nationwide public-safety broadband network,FirstNet Outreach Director Amanda Hilliard said in a webinar.

December 2014

  • Congressional subcommittee pushes for FirstNet timeline, more SWICs2014-12-03
    During a U.S. House Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on the progress of interoperable communications since the tragic events of 9/11, members of Congress pressed FirstNet Acting General Manager TJ Kennedy for a projected timeframe regarding the state-consultation process.

November 2014

  • FirstNet Finance Committee Gives Go-Ahead To Fund Key RFP, Consultation Activities in FY152014-11-17
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Finance Committee today approved Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) funding guidance... that supports program roadmap activities in the areas of Request for Proposal (RFP) development for the purpose of identifying and negotiating key private-public partnership arrangements; network planning and development; consultation with regional, state, tribal, and local jurisdictions; and organizational operations and infrastructure. The Finance Committee held a special meeting via a public teleconference during which it unanimously approved Resolution 8.

October 2014

  • FirstNet Completes Successful Request for Information and Public Comment Period2014-10-28
    The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has closed the windows for responses to its September 17 Request for Information (RFI) and the comment period for a Public Notice that was published in the Federal Register on September 24. Both the RFI and the Public Notice allowed stakeholders, including public safety professionals, regional, state, tribal and local jurisdictions, and the vendor community, to provide input and ideas on the development of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).