AT&T Says Opt-Out States Can’t Operate Core Network

May 23, 2017–AT&T, Inc., says the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which established the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), “plainly precludes an opt-out State from operating its own public safety broadband core network.” In an ex parte filing yesterday in PS docket 16-269 reporting on a meeting with representatives of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, AT&T, which is FirstNet’s network partner, also said that “[a]n opt-out State must have awarded a contract to a vendor in order for a State’s RFP to deemed ‘complete’ within the 180 days required by the Spectrum Act.”

In addition, it said the FCC “should adopt a 60-day deadline for reviewing alternative plans submitted by opt-out States.” “The Commission’s review of an alternative state plan should involve a meticulous examination of the details of the plan to ensure that it provides with sufficient specificity precisely how it will succeed in achieving seamless interoperability with the National Public Safety Broadband Network,” AT&T argued. “The Commission should not allow an opt-out State to submit amendments or supplements to its original proposed alternative plan.”

Some states and others have argued that states are permitted under the law to operate their own public safety core networks, that states should not be required to have awarded a contract to a vendor within the 180-day time period, and that states should be permitted to amend or supplement their alternative plans.

Meanwhile, the initial construction of the FirstNet network may be complete before the five years specified in AT&T’s contract with FirstNet, AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said at an investor conference today.

Mr. Stephenson said if states decide to allow AT&T to build their radio access networks (RANs), it should not take the carrier five years to complete the build-out. He said he has talked to some governors who are eager to see the network built, adding that AT&T thinks some states will make it known soon after receiving state plans that they want AT&T to build their RANs. Mr. Stephenson spoke at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston.- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily