The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) “is developing an interoperability compliance matrix that will document the technical standards and network policies that will be needed to ensure interoperability of a State or Territory deployed RAN with the NPSBN,” Rich Reed, FirstNet’s new chief customer officer, said in a blog posting today.
“Given the complexity associated with integrating a State or Territory deployed RAN with the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) to be deployed by FirstNet’s network partner as part of the nationwide deployment of the NPSBN, it is critical that FirstNet be able to identify the key data elements that will ensure interoperability and technical interconnectivity between the RAN and the EPC to ensure seamless service for public safety, as well as compliance with the Act,” Mr. Reed added.
“While FirstNet will provide the information needed for a State or Territory to successfully deploy its own RAN, this is no easy task to accomplish, and the law provides a strict and narrow timeline for States and Territories to review and submit an alternative plan,” he noted. “Accordingly, we plan to create a matrix of the key data elements to be leveraged by FirstNet’s State, Territory, and Federal partners to ensure that interoperability is achieved independent of who actually builds, deploys, and operates a RAN. FirstNet plans to finalize the details of the matrix once it has developed a solution with its network partner, including the implementation details for the EPC, which could impact specific operational details and network policies.
“FirstNet will deliver the interoperability compliance matrix to the FCC, NTIA, and the States and Territories as expeditiously as possible, but no later than the time of delivery of State and Territory Plans,” Mr. Reed added. “The FCC and NTIA also intend to release additional guidance between now and the delivery of State and Territory Plans that will provide more clarity on their respective roles in this process.”
The blog posting noted, “Under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (the Act), the FCC is responsible for approving or disapproving an alternative plan based on whether or not the State or Territory has demonstrated that it will be (1) in compliance with the minimum technical interoperability requirements contained in the Interoperability Board Report, and (2) interoperable with the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).
“If the FCC approves a State or Territory’s alternative plan, the State or Territory must also apply to the NTIA for approval of such plan to enable the State or Territory to lease spectrum capacity from FirstNet, and it may, at its discretion, apply to NTIA for a grant to help support its construction of the RAN,” Mr. Reed pointed out. “In order to obtain spectrum capacity leasing rights or grant funds, a State or Territory must demonstrate, among other things, the technical capabilities to operate and the funding to support the RAN; the ability to maintain ongoing interoperability with the NPSBN; cost-effectiveness of the State or Territory’s alternative plan; and comparable timelines, security, coverage, and quality of service to that of the FirstNet provided State or Territory Plan as part of the nationwide deployment of the NPSBN.” – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org