FirstNet Weekly Update to the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) – February 13, 2017

FirstNet News

  • FirstNet spent last week with the nation’s law enforcement leaders during their winter legislative conferences in Washington, DC. Valuable briefings from the new Administration, including President Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kelly, and FBI Director Comey, all stressed the priority to support law enforcement and public safety. FirstNet Board Member Sheriff Rich Stanek, President TJ Kennedy, and staff briefed the National Sheriffs’ Association’s (NSA) Executive Board, the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), and the Major County Sheriffs’ Association. Discussion highlighted how continuing involvement is vital to the design and implementation of the network. The conferences were a success for FirstNet thanks in no small part to Sheriff Stanek, PSAC Chair Chief (Ret.) Harlin McEwen, NSA representative to the PSAC Sheriff (Ret.) Larry Amerson, and Louisiana SPOC Colonel Mike Edmonson, who also attended the week’s events to stress the value of FirstNet to their law enforcement colleagues. Sheriff Stanek also discussed FirstNet at the White House with President Trump and Vice President Pence, and Harlin provided an update to the NSA’s State Sheriff’s Association Committee.

  • FirstNet attended the United South & Eastern Tribes (USET) Impact Week on Wednesday in Arlington, Virginia. FirstNet staff spoke to both the USET Justice Committee and the Tribal Emergency Services Committee, discussing data collection, tribal consultation, environmental and border issues, and the FirstNet timeline. Questions in both sessions focused on network costs, the governor’s decision, tower placement and requirements, environmental consultation, and opt-in/opt-out implications for tribes.
  • FirstNet was also in Juneau last week to brief the Alaska Fire Chiefs Association Leadership Summit, covering the history of FirstNet, the FirstNet value proposition, rural coverage, and applications of mobile broadband data in the fire service. Attendees were very interested in the communications capabilities FirstNet will bring, but had questions related to how FirstNet would provide adequate coverage for the state.

News from the PSAC, States and Territories

  • The PSAC’s Early Builders Working Group (EBWG) is holding its monthly teleconference on Wednesday, February 15 from 3:00pm-4:00pm ET.

Media Watch

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Urgent Communications 2/6: Trial network at Ohio State offers insights about potential benefits of FirstNet system

Two college football games at Ohio State University last fall provided law-enforcement users and a group of vendors an opportunity to assess the benefits—and some of the challenges—associated with a 700 MHz Band 14 LTE network dedicated to public safety in a difficult communications environment. With more than 100,000 fans in the stands, commercial carrier networks often become so congested near the Ohio State football stadium that they “won’t even ping” when users try to get a signal to communicate during a game, according to Kelly Castle, program manager at FirstNet Ohio. But that was not a problem for certain law-enforcement officials utilizing a temporary LTE system operating on Band 14—the spectrum slated to be used by FirstNet for its proposed nationwide public-safety broadband network—during two games last fall. Leveraging spectrum secured by the state of Ohio on a temporary basis, Redline Communications deployed the LTE network quickly throughout the Ohio State stadium and surrounding areas, she said. 

Web and Social Media

FirstNet’s social media presence grew at the normal rate this week.  Twitter gained 40 new followers, with a total now of 5,018.  Facebook has 682 followers.  LinkedIn now has 1,861 followers.  YouTube has 381 subscribers.

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