LA-RICS Board Approves Asset Transfer

The Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Authority (LA-RICS) board of directors today unanimously approved an agreement on the transfer of LA-RICS’ LTE public safety broadband assets to AT&T, Inc., if the state of California opts into the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) system.

The agreement calls for LA-RICS to transfer its 20% stake in the 75 public safety grade broadband sites, including 13 cells on wheels, as well as spare equipment, to AT&T in exchange for $12 million; up to 3,300 replacement routers, SIM cards, and devices if current equipment used by the authority is not compatible with the FirstNet system; and $2.5 million in services to pay to replace and install any routers or SIM cards that need to be replaced.

The other 80% of the equipment in the LA-RICS broadband network is owned by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which in 2010 awarded LA-RICS a $154.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to build its system (TR Daily, Sept. 28, 2010). NTIA and NTIA’s grants office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration must approve the LA-RICS-AT&T asset transfer. Continue reading

FCC Creates Blue Alert to Aid Law Enforcement, Public

The FCC today adopted a report and order modifying the Emergency Alert System (EAS) by creating a Blue Alert to aid law enforcement officers and the public when dangerous suspects are on the loose.  “Blue Alerts warn the public when there is actionable information related to a law enforcement officer who is missing, seriously injured or killed in the line of duty, or when there is an imminent credible threat to an officer,” the FCC said in a news release. “A Blue Alert could quickly warn you if a violent suspect may be in your community, along with providing instructions on what to do if you spot the suspect and how to stay safe.”

The Blue Alert code will give state and local agencies “the option to send these warnings to the public through broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline video providers.  Officials may also send Blue Alerts through the Wireless Emergency Alert system to consumers’ wireless phones,” the news release added.

“Today’s action supports the development of compatible and integrated Blue Alert plans throughout the United States, a goal consistent with the Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu National Blue Alert Act of 2015.  The Act, which is implemented by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), directs cooperation with the FCC,” the news release said.   The Act was named for two New York Police officers killed in the line of duty three years ago. Continue reading

Correction: New Hampshire FirstNet Opt-in

A Dec. 7 TR Daily story incorrectly identified the potential recipient of between $28.8 million and $36.1 million in grant funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to help cover the cost of building a radio access network as part of a nationwide public safety broadband network. It would be New Hampshire, which has announced plans to opt out of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) system.

Courtesy TRDaily

AT&T Announces Preemption for FirstNet Subscribers

AT&T, Inc., announced today that it is now offering preemption across its network for public safety users. The carrier, FirstNet’s network partner, had said that it would begin offering preemption by year-end. It has been offering priority access since it began enrolling subscribers after it signed a 25-year contract with FirstNet earlier this year (TR Daily, March 30).

“First responders have been very clear about their immediate need for preemption. During the collaborative conversations that shaped our FirstNet plan, preemption continually topped the list of mission-critical tools first responders wanted to see first on the network,” said Chris Sambar, senior vice president-FirstNet for AT&T. “So, we promised to make it available by the end of the year. And we’re proud to honor that commitment. This is game-changing for first responders, and as far as we know, this is the first-ever launch of preemption at this scale in the world.” Continue reading

CSRIC Working Groups Brief Panel

The Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council was briefed today by its transition path to NG-911, emergency alerting, and network reliability and security risk reduction working groups. The meeting only lasted about 33 minutes. The CSRIC plans to vote on reports from the working groups at its next meeting March 28, 2018, at 1 p.m.

FCC Grants Access to 800 MHz Band Expansion Channels

The Policy and Licensing Division of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released an order today granting a request by Clark County, Wash., for early access to two 800 megahertz expansion band channels, which will allow the county “to expand its composite contour footprint” on the channels “by a de minimis amount in a sparsely populated area.”

Missouri Becomes 36th State/Territory to Opt into FirstNet

Missouri today became the 36th state or territory to announce that it would opt into the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) system.  The decision was made by Gov. Eric Greitens (R.) after the state reviewed proposals by other vendors. “Gov. Greitens’ decision to opt-in to FirstNet is the right choice for our state and for our first responders. We are pleased to work with AT&T and FirstNet to ensure that the public safety community gets to use and benefit from the latest technological innovations,” said Missouri Director of Public Safety Charles (Drew) Juden III.

“Gov. Greitens’ decision demonstrates his strong commitment to public safety throughout the Show-Me State,” said FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth. “We look forward to delivering the interoperable, high speed network that will help first responders share information and communicate seamlessly when saving lives and protecting communities across Missouri.”

“AT&T is honored to bring this dedicated, interoperable public safety broadband network to Missouri, and connect its public safety community to advanced tools that will help save and preserve lives,” said John Sondag, president of AT&T Missouri. AT&T, Inc., is FirstNet’s network partner.

Only New Hampshire has announced plans to opt out of FirstNet (TR Daily, Dec. 7). Governors have until Dec. 28 to make opt-out decisions.- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily