On August 30, the National Information Sharing Consortium will be hosting a webinar with the First Responder Network Authority on the FirstNet Network Status Tool and Uplift Request Tool. These are unique tools to the FirstNet network, the only nationwide public safety communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders. Learn about the features crucial to public safety on FirstNet.
The FirstNet webinar is the thirteenth webinar in the NISC’s Mission-Focused Job Aids Webinar Series that will review tools, techniques, and standard operating procedures that NISC partners in the homeland security, emergency management, public safety, first responder, and healthcare preparedness communities use to facilitate and manage information sharing. For more information about the webinars series and the NISC, visit the NISC website at www.nisconsortium.org. To become a member of the NISC, click here to join, membership is free for all users!
FirstNet the Authority and More. With AT&T beating every due date, dealing with its coverage issues head-on, and deploying Band 14 ahead of schedule, not to mention certifying new FirstNet-approved devices, sometimes we forget FirstNet is the most important public/private partnership this nation has ever seen. When Congress formed FirstNet in 2012, it became an independent authority under the auspices of the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA), which is a part of the Department of Commerce. FirstNet the Authority, as it has become known, was responsible for putting together the FirstNet request for proposal, distributing it, and making the award. Even with the delays caused by others, it shepherded the request through to a successful conclusion and awarded the FirstNet contract to AT&T.
Since then, the focus for public safety has been on FirstNet (Built by AT&T) and not so much on FirstNet the Authority although it continues to play many important roles going forward including being the final authority on how well AT&T is doing against the deliverables established both in the RFP and in the final contract. FirstNet the Authority still has a large staff of qualified people working with federal, state, and local agencies to ensure they fully understand the importance of joining FirstNet (Built by AT&T) and how to go about it. It is the checks and balances organization that, if AT&T strays from the goals set up in the contract (which to my knowledge it has not done) FirstNet the Authority has the clout to ensure AT&T gets back on track.
It is easy to see exactly how engaged both FirstNet the Authority and its board of directors have remained throughout the process. Its last meeting was held August 13, 2018, after the APCO show. Each committee reported to the board on activity that impacts FirstNet. Fiscal highlights for 2018 include that AT&T earned a sustainability payment of $5.5 billion, and the Authority was once again given a clean bill of health by the Inspector General (IG) in his report. This makes five years in a row the IG passed the Authority with high marks. Furthermore, the finance committee reported it met the financial requirements of FirstNet while staying under budget, perhaps one of a very few government-related agencies that does stick to its budget. During 2019, it appears as though funds will be made available for independent validation and verification of the public safety network coverage, which is an important task. Read the Entire Post Here. Continue reading
Google LLC today responded to an Associated Press story that said that “many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.” “Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt in, and users have the controls to edit, delete, or turn it off at any time,” a Google spokesperson said. “As the story notes, we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions.”
The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau sought comment today on a petition for rulemaking filed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration recently asking the agency to revise its wireless priority service (WPS) rules, including by permitting some WPS users to preempt non-911 calls and by expanding WPS availability to non-voice services (TR Daily, July 10). Comments are due Aug. 28 and replies Sept. 7 in WT docket 96-86.
The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board today approved a $240 million budget for fiscal year 2019, which includes $81 million for program and administrative operations, $81 million for a new reserve fund, and $78 million for a new reinvestment in network enhancements account.
The operational budget is on an obligations basis and includes a 10% reallocation allowance, while the reinvestment budget is also on an obligations basis and will also include any additional sources of funds for FY 2019, which begins Oct. 1. The FY 2019 operations budget projects $76.5 million in expenses.
FirstNet officials stressed during a meeting, which was held via teleconference and Webex, that FirstNet operations will not be impacted if the government shuts downs due to a lapse in congressional appropriations because it does not rely on annual appropriations. FY 2019 will be the first year that FirstNet will be funded by payments from its network partner, AT&T.
FirstNet Chief Financial Officer Kim Farington said that FirstNet staff will conduct an analysis and prepare recommendations to the board for use of the reinvestment funds. FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth said the target is for him to present the board a reinvestment plan during FY 2019, saying that it will be developed with input from the public safety community.
“While we have a budget, we’re evolving from a planning organization to an operating organization,” board Chairwoman Sue Swenson said, adding that discussion will continue on the best way to use the authority’s funding. Continue reading
A notice of funding opportunity for $110 million in next-generation 911 (NG-911) grants has been released. “Those who intend to apply for a grant must submit their initial application package, including identification of a designated 911 Coordinator and the required certification, via firstname.lastname@example.org by September 10, 2018,” according to an announcement. The rules for the program were released last week (TR Daily, Aug. 3)
APCO and FirstNet. The busiest booth at the APCO conference in Las Vegas was by far the FirstNet booth. There was plenty of great activity on the show floor, but the exhibit area was smaller than in previous years simply because APCO has changed over the 30-plus years I have been a member. It is now much more of a dispatch/PSAP-focused organization. To be sure, those who run and work in Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and dispatch centers are vital to the world of public safety, but APCO’s roots were broadly based on communications in the field, from the dispatch center out.
Both the exhibit floor and the comments I heard while walking it reflect this change. Yes, Motorola, Harris, JVCKenwood/EFJohnson, and Icom were still there with their booths and products but many of the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) vendor companies are no longer showing their wares at APCO. FirstNet and companies that are FirstNet partners were there in place of these vendors. In the FirstNet booth there were demonstrations from Sonim, Sierra Wireless, Cradlepoint, ESChat, RapidDeploy, and more. Time and time again those who were exhibiting told me they did not think anyone walking the floor had purchase decision-making authority.
Unlike in the past, there were only a few tower, antenna, and LMR-associated companies. Several times I was asked why the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the 911 organization, and APCO don’t simply merge and be done with it. APCO has changed and if it was not for FirstNet as a major sponsor, I am not sure the show could survive. The focus of APCO is now more dispatch and PSAP-oriented but I was not blown away by Next-Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) vendors on the show floor either. NG911 is the next big thing to happen to public safety communications after FirstNet. In reality, the two should have been planned and executed together since both NG911 and FirstNet are based on broadband technologies. However, the feds only saw fit to dribble out a little funding to NG911 and many of the states are still skimming 911 revenue off for their own, non-911 use. Read the Entire Post Here. Continue reading