TRDaily Reports: NPSTC Disappointed with AT&T Public Safety Grade Statements

The National Public Safety Telecommunications Council released a statement today expressing disappointment in statements by AT&T, Inc., the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) network partner, that there is no consensus definition for public safety grade.

“NPSTC is disappointed that FirstNet’s commercial partner, AT&T, has on numerous occasions stated that it is not aware of a single agreed upon definition for public safety grade,” the federation said. “It is clearly apparent that numerous NPSTC-generated public safety broadband requirements submitted to the [FirstNet] PSAC [Public Safety Advisory Committee] have significantly influenced FirstNet’s RFP for which AT&T’s contract was awarded. Public safety stakeholders have spent thousands of hours developing broadband requirements and expect a public safety grade system. Public safety and the protection of our nation deserve no less. NPSTC continues to work on additional public safety broadband requirements as issues are identified. The public safety community expects FirstNet to listen to its needs and requirements, and ensure its partner strives to build the best public safety grade network possible. NPSTC is counting on FirstNet to hold AT&T accountable.”

NPSTC added, “It is important to understand FirstNet is unlikely to replace Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems in the foreseeable future. Public safety will not replace their LMR systems until they are assured the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) meets their requirements. It serves our nation to make sure that happens.”

The statement noted that NPSTC in 2014 released a 115-page report on the definition of public safety grade broadband systems (TR Daily, May 23, 2014), and last year the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International launched a process to create an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for the definition of public safety grade. The standard is expected to be published next spring.

In response to NPSTC’s statement, AT&T said, “We fully recognize and acknowledge the great work public safety has done to build requirements around broadband for this community. It not only informed the RFP that FirstNet put forth, but it also informed the customized State Plans the states are now reviewing. So we want to be very clear here – the FirstNet network will meet the requirements set forth by FirstNet.  We recognize that FirstNet, NPSTC and other public safety stakeholders and organizations like APCO will continue to work on and evolve requirements and standards.  We’re hesitant to say that there is a complete definition set in stone. We look forward to working with FirstNet, NPSTC and public safety to continue to deliver services over a network designed for the unique needs of public safety.”

Meanwhile, Andy Seybold, a wireless industry consultant and safety advocate, said in his weekly commentary that he is concerned about Verizon Communications, Inc.’s announcement that it will build a public safety core network and offer priority access and preemption to public safety customers (TR Daily, Aug. 15), which would compete with AT&T’s FirstNet service.

“I have to say that as an early proponent of a nationwide … public safety broadband network that will provide full interoperability between all agencies regardless of where they are in the United States or its territories, I was really surprised and dismayed at Verizon’s attempt to hang on to a few million subscribers out of the 146 million it reported in April of this year, and its apparent lack of concern for creating more, not less, interoperability issues and challenges,” Mr. Seybold said. “This is especially when Verizon could not be bothered to bid on the FirstNet RFP, stating publicly at the time that it had little interest in low-band spectrum either with the 600-MHz auction or the FirstNet spectrum since it believed spectrum higher in frequency would be more useful for small cell or 5G technology, on which it seemed to be betting the farm.”- Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterksluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily

NPSTC Reacts to AT&T Comments Regarding Lack of a Public Safety Grade Definition

On May 22, 2014, sixteen national public safety related associations jointly published a detailed 115-page definition of public safety grade for broadband, “Defining Public Safety Grade Systems and Facilities, Final Report” under the banner of the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) (see:  PS Grade Report). The report was submitted to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) via its Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC).

In March 2016, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International initiated a formal process to create an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard for this definition, beginning with public safety grade site and facility hardening. APCO anticipates the standard to be published Spring 2018.

NPSTC is disappointed that FirstNet’s commercial partner, AT&T, has on numerous occasions stated that it is not aware of a single agreed upon definition for public safety grade. It is clearly apparent that numerous NPSTC-generated public safety broadband requirements submitted to the PSAC have significantly influenced FirstNet’s RFP for which AT&T’s contract was awarded. Public safety stakeholders have spent thousands of hours developing broadband requirements and expect a public safety grade system. Public safety and the protection of our nation deserve no less.

NPSTC continues to work on additional public safety broadband requirements as issues are identified. The public safety community expects FirstNet to listen to its needs and requirements, and ensure its partner strives to build the best public safety grade network possible. NPSTC is counting on FirstNet to hold AT&T accountable.

It is important to understand FirstNet is unlikely to replace Land Mobile Radio (LMR) systems in the foreseeable future. Public safety will not replace their LMR systems until they are assured the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) meets their requirements. It serves our nation to make sure that happens.

 

National 911 Program Partners with NASNA on New Resource on NG9-1-1 and FirstNet

The National 911 Program and the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) have created a 16-page brochure NG911 & FirstNet Guide for State and Local Authorities to help local authorities understand the difference between NG 9-1-1 and FirstNet as decisions are made about the future of emergency communications.

“It is imperative to the 9-1-1 community, first responders and the public that these two systems work together seamlessly,” said Laurie Flaherty, coordinator of the National 911 Program. “They are two parts of the whole, and are both critical in bringing 9-1-1 into the digital age.”

 

Nevada Latest State to Opt In to FirstNet

Nevada became the 15th state or territory today to opt in to the First Responder Network Authority. “Public safety is of the highest concern,” said Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R.). “Increasing the safety of our residents, visitors and first responders through FirstNet was the right choice. From volunteer emergency responders in rural communities to those on the front lines in populous areas, our public safety community deserves access to the cutting-edge technologies they need to get the job done.”

“Governor Sandoval’s decision to join FirstNet demonstrates his strong commitment to public safety,” said FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth. “This decision puts 21st century technology over a modern, broadband platform in the hands of the state’s first responders, giving them access to the speed, bandwidth and priority services they need. FirstNet looks forward to continued efforts with public safety to ensure this network is built to meet their unique needs across the state – from remote locales to populous cities.” Continue reading

Public Safety Reps Criticize AT&T’s FirstNet Offerings

DENVER – Public safety representatives at the APCO 2017 show here yesterday afternoon expressed skepticism about AT&T, Inc.’s offerings as the network partner of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). During a session on state plans, a representative from Washington state said that the rural coverage promised by AT&T “is exceedingly optimistic.” He asked how states that want to opt out of having AT&T build their radio access network (RAN) can compete with the FirstNet state plan when seeking approval for an alternative state plan if the FirstNet plan doesn’t have realistic deployment scenarios.

“How do you compare fiction with fiction?” he asked officials from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is charged with reviewing alternative state plans for authority to secure a spectrum capacity lease agreement with FirstNet and for grant eligibility.

Marsha MacBride, NTIA’s associate administrator-Office of Public Safety Communications, said that NTIA will look at technical and budgeting provisions in alternative state plans to see if promised coverage can realistically be achieved, just as FirstNet will monitor AT&T to ensure that it meets its obligations under its 25-year contract with FirstNet. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, August 17, 2017

FirstNet or SecondNet? The Middle-Class Tax Relief Act of 2012 in the section known as Title VI created FirstNet and set out the rules for building a nationwide public safety broadband network and a public-private partnership in order to build the In 2012, Congress passed and the then President of the United States signed into law the Middle-Class network using mostly private rather than federal funding. After five long years, FirstNet issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) and three companies submitted proposals (Verizon Wireless was not one of these). After much deliberation and after two of the three companies were disqualified, the contract was awarded to AT&T.

This past week, Verizon came out of hibernation and declared it will also be building out a nationwide public safety broadband network with all the elements of a network with access to the FirstNet spectrum known as Band 14 (or as some old timers call it, the D Block) which is licensed by the FCC to FirstNet. This new Verizon “Public Safety Grade” network will include pre-emption for first responders on the Verizon LTE network and a Public Safety Evolved Packet Core (EPC) that will be separate from the current Verizon back-end system.

So now we have the approved FirstNet partnership with AT&T moving forward and the sleeping giant has suddenly awakened, looked around, and raised its hand. I have to say that as an early proponent of a nationwide a public safety broadband network that will provide full interoperability between all agencies regardless of where they are in the United States or its territories, I was really surprised and dismayed at Verizon’s attempt to hang on to a few million subscribers out of the 146 million it reported in April of this year, and its apparent lack of concern for creating more, not less, interoperability issues and challenges.

This is especially when Verizon could not be bothered to bid on the FirstNet RFP, stating publicly at the time that it had little interest in low-band spectrum either with the 600-MHz auction or the FirstNet spectrum since it believed spectrum higher in frequency would be more useful for small cell or 5G technology, on which it seemed to be betting the farm. Read the Full Blog Here Continue reading