911 Grant NOFO Released

A notice of funding opportunity for $110 million in next-generation 911 (NG-911) grants has been released. “Those who intend to apply for a grant must submit their initial application package, including identification of a designated 911 Coordinator and the required certification, via nhtsa.national911@dot.gov by September 10, 2018,” according to an announcement. The rules for the program were released last week (TR Daily, Aug. 3)

Courtesy TRDaily

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 9, 2018

APCO and FirstNet.  The busiest booth at the APCO conference in Las Vegas was by far the FirstNet booth. There was plenty of great activity on the show floor, but the exhibit area was smaller than in previous years simply because APCO has changed over the 30-plus years I have been a member. It is now much more of a dispatch/PSAP-focused organization. To be sure, those who run and work in Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and dispatch centers are vital to the world of public safety, but APCO’s roots were broadly based on communications in the field, from the dispatch center out.

Both the exhibit floor and the comments I heard while walking it reflect this change. Yes, Motorola, Harris, JVCKenwood/EFJohnson, and Icom were still there with their booths and products but many of the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) vendor companies are no longer showing their wares at APCO. FirstNet and companies that are FirstNet partners were there in place of these vendors. In the FirstNet booth there were demonstrations from Sonim, Sierra Wireless, Cradlepoint, ESChat, RapidDeploy, and more. Time and time again those who were exhibiting told me they did not think anyone walking the floor had purchase decision-making authority.

Unlike in the past, there were only a few tower, antenna, and LMR-associated companies. Several times I was asked why the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the 911 organization, and APCO don’t simply merge and be done with it. APCO has changed and if it was not for FirstNet as a major sponsor, I am not sure the show could survive. The focus of APCO is now more dispatch and PSAP-oriented but I was not blown away by Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) vendors on the show floor either. NG911 is the next big thing to happen to public safety communications after FirstNet. In reality, the two should have been planned and executed together since both NG911 and FirstNet are based on broadband technologies. However, the feds only saw fit to dribble out a little funding to NG911 and many of the states are still skimming 911 revenue off for their own, non-911 use. Read the Entire Post Here. Continue reading

911 Grant NOFO Released

A notice of funding opportunity for $110 million in next-generation 911 (NG-911) grants has been released. “Those who intend to apply for a grant must submit their initial application package, including identification of a designated 911 Coordinator and the required certification, via nhtsa.national911@dot.gov by September 10, 2018,” according to an announcement. The rules for the program were released last week (TR Daily, Aug. 3).

Courtesy TRDaily

Correction: Verizon Fires Back at AT&T Criticism of Safety Offering

A story in August 8’s TR Daily misquoted Mike Maiorana, senior vice president–public sector for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, as saying that AT&T, Inc.’s public safety business has increased since it was awarded the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) contract. He said Verizon’s public safety business has increased since that time.

Courtesy TRDaily

Official: DHS Wants More “Robust’ R&D Cycle

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate wants to improve its plans for conducting research to protect first responders, an official said today.

In opening remarks at a stakeholder summit of the International Forum to Advance First Responder Innovation (IFAFRI), Andre Hentz, acting deputy under secretary for S&T, said, “What we really want to do is develop a more robust and methodical R&D duty cycle that helps us better be stewards of the taxpayer dollars that we get to affect and drive down risks to first responders.”

“We need to be able to motivate and connect with industry and better help you guys understand what our true requirements are,” he added.

Speakers at today’s event discussed the need to (1) “know the locations of responders and their proximity to risks and hazards in real time”; (2) “detect, monitor and analyze passive and active threats and hazards at incident scenes in real time”; (3) “rapidly identify hazardous agent[s] and contaminants”; and (4) “incorporate information from multiple and non-traditional sources into incident command operations[.]”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

Judge Dismisses Final Count in FirstNet FoIA Lawsuit

A U.S. District judge in Vermont has dismissed the remaining count in a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) lawsuit seeking First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) records. Last December, Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford ruled that FirstNet was exempt from FoIA under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which created FirstNet (TR Daily, Jan. 2). He rejected 17 of the 18 counts in the suit.

On the last count, Judge Crawford reserved making a decision on summary judgment pending a supplemental briefing. The count requested “injunctive relief prohibiting FirstNet from collecting personally identifiable information until proper privacy impact assessments are complete,” the judge noted in the earlier decision. Continue reading

Verizon Fires Back at AT&T Criticism of Public Safety Offering

LAS VEGAS — Verizon Communications, Inc., fired back today at AT&T, Inc.’s suggestion that Verizon was “misleading public safety” in its description of Verizon’s public safety broadband offering. Verizon also suggested that AT&T is being “inconsistent” because it criticizes Verizon’s virtual public safety core while touting the benefits of virtual network functions elsewhere.

During an interview with TR Daily this morning at the APCO 2018 show here, Mike Maiorana, senior vice president–public sector for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, responded to comments that an AT&T executive made in an interview with TR Daily earlier this week.

During the earlier interview, Chris Sambar, SVP-FirstNet for AT&T, which is the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network partner, suggested that there are “inconsistencies” concerning how Verizon sells its public safety offering, for which it has built a virtual public safety core (TR Daily, Aug. 7).

“Verizon is purposely obfuscating the difference between a virtual and a dedicated core,” he said. He said that while AT&T offers “always-on preemption,” public safety entities have told AT&T that Verizon has said its preemption involves wireless priority service (WPS), which is a voice offering, and at times has said preemption is offered today while other times has said it would be offered later this year.

“I don’t understand why they are misleading public safety,” Mr. Sambar added. “We’re being very clear about what we’re offering.”

“I think it’s disappointing that AT&T needs to disparage Verizon’s messaging in the marketplace and question our integrity in how we serve our customers,” Mr. Maiorana said today. “This is a segment that builds trust and buys services based on long-standing performance. It’s not a customer segment that buys on promises of the future or marketing rhetoric. So we have a long-standing history at Verizon of leading in this customer segment.” Continue reading