The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) today prepared official notices to governors of final state and territory plans after receiving from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration funding level determinations (FLDs) for states that opt out of having AT&T, Inc., build their radio access networks (RANs). FirstNet posted final plans on an online portal last week (TR Daily, Sept. 19), but it could not deliver official notices to states and territories, which starts the 90-day clock for review, until getting the FLDs from Commerce, as required by the law that created FirstNet. The funding would be used for RAN construction.
“We are preparing the official notices, which includes NTIA’s FLDs, to send to the governors tonight, for arrival tomorrow,” a FirstNet spokesman said late this afternoon.
Funding levels will be released once they have been received by governors, according to an NTIA spokesman.
Louisiana became the 24th state or territory to opt in to the FirstNet system yesterday (TR Daily, Sept. 27).
Meanwhile, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D.) and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D.) have announced plans to issue a joint request for proposals (RFP) for an alternative to the plans delivered by FirstNet. A number of states have issued RFPs or RFIs, but this would be the first joint one.
“By joining together to issue the RFP, officials in Washington and Oregon say they’ll be able to make a more informed choice about the best option for building a network that serves the unique needs of the Northwest, especially in rural communities,” according to a news release. “The states expect to release their RFP within two weeks and close it approximately five weeks later. There will then be a period of evaluation and possible selection of one or more vendors to advance to the next phase of the process.”
The news release stressed that the governors “made clear they have not yet decided to opt-out of participation with FirstNet.”
In a letter yesterday to Washington’s Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee, Gov. Inslee said, “Importantly, this decision should not be interpreted as an indication that I have decided to ‘opt out’ of FirstNet’s plans to build a nationwide public-safety broadband network. It is the intent of this RFP to explore options available to the State that will be most responsive to the needs of public safety entities and which will be sustainable over the coming 25-year period. I believe a regional solution with our partners in Oregon is one that should be explored.”
“Our first responders are eager to move forward and their ongoing feedback will be essential to making sure we make the best decision for our states,” Gov. Brown said.
“Issuing an RFP to solicit bids from other vendors is a critical piece of the due diligence that ensures the best service for first responders in the Northwest. Once proposals have been submitted, the states will weigh them against the merits of joining the FirstNet infrastructure,” the news release added.- Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org