Colorado Withdraws FirstNet Interoperability Request

The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology has asked the FCC not to take any action at this time in response to a recent filing by the Colorado Public Safety Broadband Governing Body (CPSBGB) that asked the Commission to clarify guidelines and requirements concerning interoperability and roaming between the nationwide public safety broadband network being built by AT&T, Inc., for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and wireless carriers (TR Daily, July 9).

In a filing late Friday in PS dockets 16-269, 12-94, and 06-229 and WT docket 06-150, the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology (Colorado Broadband Office), said it “acknowledges the interoperability concerns raised by the CPSBGB in this filing. However, on behalf of the CPSBGB, we request that the Commis[s]ion not take any further action on this matter at this time.

“Consistent with Colorado’s decision to Opt-In to the NPSBN [National Public Safety Broadband Network] on December 18, 2017, the Broadband Office will work collaboratively with the CPSBGB and FirstNet to resolve the concerns raised regarding interoperability and ensure the Colorado first responder community has access to a state of the art communications system,” the filing added. “We remain committed to support the mission set forth by FirstNet to deploy, operate, maintain, and improve the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.”

The filing was signed by Brian Shepherd, chief operating officer of the Colorado Broadband Office who also signed the July 6 submission. Mr. Shepherd has been the state’s FirstNet single point of contact (SPOC).

In response to questions from TR Daily about whether FirstNet or AT&T had pressured officials to submit the filing late Friday and whether the original submission had been filed prematurely, Brandi Wildfang Simmons, chief communications officer and public information officer for the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology, said today, “Interoperability is a valid concern of the CPSBGB and we have decided that the best mechanism for dealing with this concern is to work with FirstNet to determine if we can reach a resolution. We decided independently to file the July 13 letter.”

Last week, Verizon Communications, Inc., expressed support for the Colorado request (TR Daily, July 12).

“Interoperability between and among all first responders, regardless of the network they use, is vitally important, and promoting interoperability was one of the principal reasons Congress established FirstNet. It is important that industry standards and agreements between network providers, equipment vendors, and application developers ensure that interoperability objectives are achieved,” Verizon said in an ex parte filing. “Verizon supports the development of such standards and agreements, and looks forward to working with FirstNet, AT&T, the public safety community, and others in the industry, to achieve those goals. Interoperability should be supported across the entire public safety ecosystem and should include interoperability for services, applications, and features (e.g., priority and preemption protocols) used by first responders. The Commission should seek input on this important matter from other public safety agencies and interested stakeholders by placing CPSBGB’s request on Public Notice as soon as possible.”

In a statement today, an AT&T spokesperson said, “We don’t appear to be alone in our surprise from the recent filing, and we’re pleased to see how quickly the State of Colorado reacted to withdraw it. The legislation behind FirstNet calls for a single, nationwide broadband network that will drive interoperability for first responders across agencies and jurisdictions — not replicate a patchwork of networks. This is what public safety urged Congress to create. And we will continue to work with the states and public safety to ensure FirstNet is purpose-built to their needs.”

Verizon and FirstNet did not have any comment on the development regarding the Colorado request. —Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily