GovTech Reports: FAA Lets Maine Search and Rescue Group Deploy Drones

A Maine-based search and rescue organization has become the first civilian entity of its type to receive permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to use unmanned aircraft systems, or drones.

The authorization granted to Down East Emergency Medicine Institute on April 6 allows it to operate two drones it purchased from a southern Maine manufacturer — one of them a fixed-wing model and the other a larger multi-rotor version — to fly at altitudes of 200 feet or lower so long as it abides by certain guidelines, according to documents provided by the FAA.  “The great thing is it will save lives,” DEEMI Director Richard Bowie said.

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FirstNet Releases Third Public Notice

FirstNet has released a Third Notice  which furthers the discussion and interpretation of who is eligible as public safety to use the FirstNet network.  This issue was previously discussed in the FirstNet First Notice to which NPSTC commented on October 27, 2015.  The new Third Notice further dissects the language in Section 337 of the Communications Act re the definition of public safety as well as the provisions of the Spectrum Act of 2012, i.e., the enabling legislation  that created FirstNet.

Comments on this new Third Notice are due 30 days after the Notice is published in the Federal Register.  NPSTC will be reviewing this new Third Notice to determine its response.  The FirstNet Third Notice may be accessed at:



TR Daily Reports: FirstNet Approves Draft RFP, PN on Public Safety Entity Definition

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board today approved management’s draft acquisition approach and authorized the release of a special notice and draft request for proposals (RFP) documents. The board also approved the release of a public notice seeking additional views on the definition of “public safety entity.”

Acting FirstNet General Manager TJ Kennedy said at a special meeting, which was held via teleconference, that management plans to release the special notice and draft RFP documents April 27 and provide 30 days to submit any questions on the documents and 90 days to submit comments. The documents will be posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website at (Reference Number D15PS00295). Responses will not be made public.

Release of the draft RFP has been eagerly awaited by industry and the public safety community. Last month, the board delayed a vote on approving the release of the documents to provide additional time to answer questions raised by members of its Finance Committee (TRDaily, March 25).  FirstNet plans to issue a final RFP by the end of this calendar year.

In the public notice, the third to be released by FirstNet, the authority refines a preliminary conclusion concerning its definition of public safety entity and seeks comments. FirstNet said it believes that a subgroup or individuals within an entity, such as a utility, that respond to emergencies could fall under the definition of public safety entity without everyone at the organization, such as sales people, being defined as such. Comments on the public notice are due 30 days after “Federal Register” publication of the document. FirstNet will make the responses public. Continue reading

Pleading Cycle Set on 9-1-1 Petition

Oppositions are due May 11 and replies May 19 in response to a petition asking the FCC to reconsider portions of an order it adopted in January in its 911 location accuracy proceeding (TRDaily, Jan. 29). The petition was filed in PS docket 07-114 by the Boulder Regional Emergency Telephone Service Authority (BRETSA).


T-Band Action Not Seen Soon

The Enterprise Wireless Alliance said in a newsletter today that “conversations with the FCC indicate that there are no ‘imminent’ plans to introduce rules that would implement the repurposing of the T-Band away from public safety and Industrial/Business for broadband purposes, at least until late 2016 at the earliest. The FCC must consider several options that would enable it to address the specific directives while taking into consideration the absence of suitable replacement spectrum.”