LAS VEGAS — The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will hold AT&T, Inc., to the requirement in its contract that it deliver 72 dedicated deployables by next month, Jeff Bratcher, FirstNet’s chief technology and operations officer, said during a session today at the APCO 2018 show here.
“They have a commitment to us in the contract to deliver those, and that’s what we’re holding them accountable to. Whatever issues they have with their vendors is up to them to resolve,” Mr. Bratcher said.
AT&T has faced a delay in getting deployable equipment ordered for the FirstNet program delivered.
FirstNet had said it expected the first 24 of the 72 deployables to be activated by the end of March. AT&T announced last month that the first dedicated deployable assets had finally been delivered (TR Daily, July 10).
In response to a question about the delivery of deployables, an AT&T spokeswoman said in June, “Like a fire apparatus, a custom cell tower on wheels – built to public safety’s specifications – takes months to produce. While we have not missed any commitments, we have delayed delivery of these assets until our vendor meets the exacting standards established by our public safety partners. In the meantime, we have responded to every public safety request for a deployable using our numerous assets.”
AT&T says it will meet its commitment in its contract with FirstNet to have all 72 deployables ready by September.
Mr. Bratcher also said today that FirstNet is pleased with progress in deploying the network. He noted that more than 2,500 sites have public safety Band 14 across 40-plus states and territories, with 10,000 more in the process. By the end of this year, about 15,000 sites are expected to have Band 14. Also, more than 1,000 new sites are planned to be built. —Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org