Colorado Urges FCC to Set Deadline for Release of FirstNet Policies

May 11, 2017–The FCC should set a deadline, “preferably at least 90 days before delivery of the state plan created by FirstNet,” for the First Responder Network Authority to release its network policies, according to a memorandum prepared on behalf of the Colorado Office of Information Technology and the FirstNet Colorado Governing Body. “Just as the states cannot design a compliant network without having access to the network policies, the Commission cannot evaluate a state plan for interoperability without having access to the network policies,” said the memo, which was written by Ken Fellman, an attorney for the Colorado government entities, and filed in PS dockets 16-269, 12-94, 06-229, and 06-150. “It is the Commission’s role alone to decide whether state alternative plans comply with FirstNet’s network policies. Because it is the Commission’s role in the Spectrum Act to evaluate alternative state plans against the network policies, the Commission necessarily has the power to demand that FirstNet divulge those same network policies in a manner that will provide the Commission the time necessary to carry out its statutorily required obligations.

“While no explicit statutory exists for the Commission to compel this action, the Commission’s role under the Spectrum Act would be impossible to carry out if no such power existed,” the filing added. “Longstanding principles of administrative law support this result. Chevron, U.S.A., Inc. v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 843 (1984) (holding when a statute is silent or ambiguous with respect to specific language in a statute, it is up to the administrative agency to effectuate Congressional intent).”

It added, “In compelling FirstNet to give the Commission access to its network policies, prior to delivery of FirstNet’s plans to each state governor, the Commission will have the time necessary to determine how it will evaluate any opt out requests for interoperability – but it cannot create the details of that process without access to these network policies. For example, if, despite not obtaining the FirstNet network policies until the state plan is delivered, a state chooses to seek Commission approval of an alternative plan relatively soon after the delivery of the FirstNet plan to the governor, say within a month, the Commission will be ill-equipped to evaluate the necessary interoperability issues. The 180 day window to complete the opt out process will have opened, and if the Commission is not fully prepared to address the issues, the state’s ability to opt out will be compromised.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily