November 2, 2016–The National Governors Association today released a letter to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) recommending ways that FirstNet can engage with states in the deployment of a nationwide public safety broadband network. The letter emphasized the importance of FirstNet engaging “states as full partners in planning and building the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). The reason for that is not only to meet the statutory requirements for state consultations, but more importantly to ensure that key information, processes, and expertise within states can be appropriately brought to bear on the full range of FirstNet activities.”
It said FirstNet should communicate with states through the single points of contact (SPOCs), notify SPOCs at least 15 days before representatives travel to a state, and provide NGA updates on FirstNet activities. “FirstNet and its vendor, once selected, should robustly engage states to develop their respective state plans,” the letter also said. “These engagements should include regular communication with the SPOC before, during, and after state draft plans are developed. States should have as many opportunities as possible to review and provide comments on iterations of the draft plans.”
In addition, “[t]o promote transparency and help states better understand plans for buildout of the NPSBN, FirstNet should provide all SPOCs access to the winning vendor’s proposal to FirstNet as soon as the vendor selection has been made,” the letter added.
It also said that “FirstNet should tell the SPOC the date by which it will submit the state’s draft plan. After draft plans are delivered, FirstNet and NGA should convene regional meetings to provide states an opportunity to share with each other details of their respective plans, raise any issues or concerns they may have, and identify recommendations for improving plans.”
“Newly elected governors and their staff should be engaged early and often to ensure they have the information they need to make an informed decision about whether to opt in or opt out of FirstNet,” according to the letter.
“The NGA has been a valuable partner of FirstNet,” a FirstNet spokesperson said today in response to the letter. “Given the role that Governors will play in the state plan decision, we look forward to working with all of states and territories as we strive to deliver a nationwide broadband network to public safety in every state, territory, and tribal nation.” – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org