FirstNet President Takes Victory Lap, Delivers Pep Talk for Hard Work Ahead

March 29, 2017–LAS VEGAS – First Responder Network Authority President TJ Kennedy today took a victory lap by recounting all the efforts that led to tomorrow’s award of a contract to a network partner, and delivered a pep talk to the public safety community concerning the tough work still ahead to realize the deployment and operation of a nationwide public safety broadband network.

The Commerce Department today announced that the 25-year contract award – it did not mention the partner, AT&T, Inc., by name – will be announced at an event at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at the agency’s headquarters. Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross is scheduled to make the announcement. The Commerce venue was chosen after efforts to arrange an announcement with President Trump at the White House this week were not successful.

“This network happened because of each and every one of you,” Mr. Kennedy said in a keynote speech this morning at the IWCE show here. “We all stuck together and spoke with one voice, and we need to continue to do that.” He asked attendees to stand up and raise their right hands and vow to pledge to continue to work toward making the network a reality. Continue reading

FirstNet Partners with AT&T to Build $46.5 Billion Wireless Broadband Network for America’s First Responders

Record-breaking public-private partnership will modernize emergency communications infrastructure, saving lives, protecting communities, and creating jobs                      

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the Department of Commerce and First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced the selection of AT&T to build the first nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to America’s first responders.  This record-breaking public-private partnership is a significant investment in the communications infrastructure that public safety desperately needs for day-to-day operations, disaster response and recovery, and securing of large events. It will also make 20 MHz of prime broadband spectrum available for private-sector development.

“Today is a landmark day for public safety across the Nation and shows the incredible progress we can make through public-private partnerships,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “FirstNet is a critical infrastructure project that will give our first responders the communications tools they need to keep America safe and secure.  This public-private partnership will also spur innovation and create over ten thousand new jobs in this cutting-edge sector.”

The broad terms of this 25-year agreement between FirstNet and AT&T are:

  • FirstNet will provide 20 MHz of high-value, telecommunications spectrum and success-based payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the Network buildout – FirstNet’s funding was raised from previous FCC spectrum auctions;
  • AT&T will spend about $40 billion over the life of the contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network, with a focus on ensuring robust coverage for public safety;
  • Additionally, AT&T will connect FirstNet users to the company’s telecommunications network assets, valued at more than $180 billion.

The ability to communicate seamlessly across jurisdictions is critical for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) when securing large events or responding to emergencies and disasters.  In those instances, networks can become overloaded and inaccessible, limiting responders’ use of vital communication technologies, such as smartphones and applications dedicated to public safety services.

That will change with a high-speed network built specifically for the millions of public safety users in all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, including those serving rural communities and tribal lands.  The Network will modernize first responders’ communications and deliver specialized features that are not available to them on wireless networks today.

“This public-private partnership is a major step forward for the public safety community as we begin building the broadband network they fought for and deserve,” said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson.  “FirstNet and AT&T will deliver high-speed connectivity to help millions of first responders operate faster, safer, and more effectively when lives are on the line.”

This innovative public-private partnership will create more than 10,000 new jobs and ensure public safety has a voice in the growth and evolution of the Network.  In addition, FirstNet and AT&T will maximize the resources they are bringing to the partnership to create a financially self-sustaining network.

Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said, “We are honored to work with FirstNet to build a network for America’s police, firefighters and EMS that is second to none.  This is an unprecedented public-private investment in infrastructure that makes America a leader and public safety a national priority.”

“This unique partnership brings together FirstNet as the voice of public safety and a global technology team with a proven track record and commitment to public safety,” said FirstNet CEO Mike Poth. “Together, FirstNet and AT&T will move with precision and urgency to deliver this much-needed infrastructure to those who need it the most: our first responders.”

FirstNet addresses a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission regarding communications used by police, fire, and emergency medical personnel.  The public safety community advocated for and endorsed passage of legislation for the wireless broadband network.  For more information about how the FirstNet Network will help public safety save lives and protect communities, please visit FirstNet.gov/mediakit for resources.

###

About the FirstNet

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Chartered in 2012, its mission is to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide, broadband network that equips first responders to save lives and protect U.S. communities. Learn more at FirstNet.gov/mediakit and follow FirstNet (@FirstNetGov) on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

FCC Urged to Abandon Personal-Use Booster Signals Restriction

March 24, 2017–Commenters, including wireless carriers, trade groups, corporations, and booster manufacturers, urged the FCC to grant the petition filed in December 2016 by Wilson Electronics LLC to repeal or modify the personal-use restriction on consumer signal boosters (TRDaily, March 3, 2017). They argued that improvements in booster signal technology, the failure of FCC concerns about signal interference to materialize, and the adequacy of existing protections justify elimination of the personal-use restriction.

In 2013, the FCC issued an order with three measures involving consumer signal boosters that were intended to alleviate the commission’s concern that the boosters could interfere with existing wireless networks: (1) a new standard to ensure that new signal booster models were sufficiently designed to avoid network interference, (2) a registration requirement mandating that signal booster users register their boosters with their carriers, and (3) a personal use restriction limiting booster use to individuals in their homes. Wilson’s petition seeks to remove the third measure as unnecessarily restrictive. Continue reading

Text of Robocall NOI Seeks Comment on Traceback, Caller ID Authentication

March 24, 2017–Among the possible “objective criteria” for determining whether a call is likely illegal “to a high degree of certainty” and can be blocked by a provider without violating the FCC’s call completion rules are information obtained through traceback efforts, the FCC said in the text of its notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of inquiry on blocking unlawful robocalls adopted at yesterday’s Commission meeting yesterday (TRDaily, March 23) and released late yesterday. “We ask commenters to submit information on whether some methods more accurately identify illegal calls in comparison to other methods, and whether some methods can identify unwanted calls but are less accurate in identifying illegal calls. Do certain methods work best in combination? Are some methods acceptable when used in the context of an informed consumer choosing to implement call blocking with knowledge of the risks of false positives, but might be less acceptable when used in the context of provider-initiated blocking? What can the Commission do to help providers minimize the possibility for false positives when blocking calls based on such methods?” the FCC asks in the NOI. Continue reading

U.S. Secretary of Commerce to Announce Signing of Public-Private Partnership for NPSBN on Thursday, March 30

Secretary Wilbur Ross to make announcement regarding public safety broadband network

On Thursday, March 30, at 9:30 a.m. ET, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross will make an announcement regarding the signing of the public-private partnership to create a nationwide public safety broadband network.

FirstNet will sign a 25-year contract with the network provider to equip first responders with the latest technology to allow them to communicate with other public safety personnel on a nationwide public safety broadband network. This will allow firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel to work seamlessly across the country to save lives and protect communities.

You are invited to attend in person – with RSVP required for in-person participation. The announcement is also planned to be live-streamed through the Department of Commerce homepage, the Commerce Facebook page and on FirstNet.gov.

PARTICIPATION INFORMATION
What U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross announcement
When Thursday, March 30, 2017, 9:30 a.m. ET
Participate in person Department of Commerce Auditorium

(Arrive through 14th Street entrance)

1401 Constitution Ave NW

Washington, D.C. 20230

Please note:

  • RSVPs are REQUIRED to attend in person – click here to RSVP  
  • Attendees must bring government-issued photo ID and arrive about 45 minutes early to go through security
Participate remotely The announcement will be live-streamed through the Department of Commerce homepage, Commerce Facebook page and on FirstNet.gov.
Questions Please reply to this email with questions.
 

Court Dismisses NARUC Petition in VoIP Numbering Case

March 24, 2017–The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a decision today dismissing a petition filed by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners that challenged a 2015 FCC order giving VoIP (voice-over-Internet-protocol) service providers direct access to numbering resources directly from the North American Numbering Plan administrators, rather than through third-party service providers. The court said in its decision today that NARUC had failed “to demonstrate an injury-in-fact, and thus failed to establish Article III standing to challenge” the FCC’s order. “The court lacks jurisdiction and the petition for review is dismissed,” it said.

NARUC argued in “NARUC v FCC” (case 15-1497) that the FCC in its 2015 order had given VoIP service providers the benefits of being telecommunications carriers by giving them direct access to numbering resources without subjecting them to the obligations of telecommunications carriers, including certification and service quality oversight by state utility commissions.

The FCC argued, however, that NARUC’s members are not injured by the numbering policy changes adopted by the order, and if they are injured by the failure to classify VoIP service providers as telecommunications carriers, that is an issue being adjudicated separately. The FCC has not to date classified VoIP providers as either telecom carriers or information service providers. Continue reading

FCC Adopts Item to Help Target Contraband Wireless Devices in Correctional Facilities

March 23, 2017–The FCC today adopted a report and order and further notice of proposed rulemaking to assist correctional facilities in deploying equipment that targets contraband wireless devices used by inmates. The devices have been increasingly use for criminal activities, including operating drug operations and ordering the murders of people outside of prisons and jails.“ The rules adopted today will simplify the process for CIS [contraband interdiction system] operators to obtain … FCC authorization, allowing for quicker and easier deployment of these systems in correctional facilities,” the FCC said in a news release.

“The rules adopted today will streamline the process so CIS operators can obtain authorizations faster and with fewer filings,” it added. “A CIS operator must have arrangements with every carrier providing service in its area in order for the system to be effective.  The rules will require wireless carriers to cooperate with CIS operators and correctional facilities in a timely manner.” Continue reading