FCC Plans to Move Quickly on FirstNet Interoperability Matrix

The FCC plans to act quickly to decide the merits of an interoperability compliance matrix submitted by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), Roberto Mussenden, an attorney-adviser in the Policy and Licensing Division of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, told the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council today during a meeting held via teleconference. “We’re planning to move expeditiously on it,” said Mr. Mussenden, noting that comments were recently submitted on the matrix (TR Daily, July 18).

An order adopted last month setting procedures for Commission review of alternative state FirstNet plans instructed the Public Safety Bureau to seek comments on the matrix in an expedited fashion (TR Daily, June 22 and 23).

Also during today’s NPSTC meeting, FirstNet board member Kevin McGinnis said that the authority planned to soon release a tribal consultation plan. He noted that a report released last week by the Government Accountability Office said FirstNet should improve its tribal consultation process and assess the staffing needs of its Network Program Office before it takes over sole responsibility for managing its 25-year contract with AT&T, Inc., its network partner (TR Daily, July 20). Mr. McGinnis, who has been the board’s tribal liaison, noted that FirstNet has faced challenges consulting with tribes because the law that created FirstNet required consultation to take place through FirstNet state points of contact (SPOCs).

Mr. McGinnis said the relationship between FirstNet and AT&T is good, although he noted that there has been some confusion in the public safety community over AT&T’s “product offerings” for its current network compared to its products and services for FirstNet. “That gets quickly addressed,” he said.

Tom Sorley, chair of FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), said the PSAC is having discussions with AT&T on the PSAC’s previous reports and other work products “about what we meant by them when we created them.”

At today’s meeting, the NPSTC board also approved a radio interoperability best practice on channel assignments and assigned a new work item on a naming sequence for LTE talk groups to its common naming channel working group.

Also, Dereck Orr, chief of the Public Safety Communications Research Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said the PSCR is ready to start planning for a multi-year location-based services grant challenge program.

The next meeting of the NPSTC is scheduled for Sept. 6 in Washington. —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily