States Say They Will Meet September 30 Data Submission Deadlines

Several state officials said today they will meet a Sept. 30 deadline for turning in data to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), although they said they will continue to update and refine their data after that period so it can factored into state plans.  FirstNet has asked for data on coverage objectives, capacity, users and operations, and current service.

“We’ll meet the deadline of Sept. 30th with some basic information, but we see it as an iterative process to where we’ll continually provide more and more data to FirstNet throughout the engagement process with them that will not stop until the state plan,” Ryan Burchnell, chief technology officer for the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, said during a session this morning at the APCO 2015 show. He said the state has received about 750 responses to a survey of users.

Kelly Gottsponer, network outreach coordinator for the Arkansas Public Safety Broadband Network, said her state will be able to submit by the deadline information on first responders’ area of operations, disciplines and different levels of government, and details on daily usage and the type of applications that personnel are using. So far, her agency has received responses from about 5,000 agencies and users, she said.

Todd Early, deputy assistant director of the Public Safety Communications Service within the Law Enforcement Support Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the state’s single point of contact (SPOC) for FirstNet, said his state plans to meet the deadline. More than 700 responses to a survey are in or are in the process of being completed, he said.

Bill Schrier, Washington state’s FirstNet SPOC and chair of the state’s Interoperability Executive Committee, said Washington submitted data to FirstNet in July. “But we’ll refresh that in September,” he added.

As of Aug. 15, 112 responses to a state survey had been received. The respondents employ nearly 13,000 of the approximately 30,000 first responders in the state, he said. Except for Mr. Early, the other state officials said they still have plenty of Phase I State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP) funds for data collection. Texas has essentially run out of such funds and is awaiting approval of an amended budget for Phase II spending.

But Mr. Schrier noted that one funding problem will be the fact that the length of the program has been extended, in his state’s case from September 2016 to February 2018. “So we’ve got to make the SLIGP funds last longer, and I think that’s an issue for most states,” he said. He added that he plans to ask the state’s legislature to contribute funds. – Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com