Horowitz Eyes FirstNet 2.0, Board Meeting With New Members

Edward Horowitz, the new chairman of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board, said the authority plans to discuss a “new vision” on Thursday at the first meeting of its newly constituted board.

In September, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reappointed Mr. Horowitz to a three-year term and appointed him chairman of the board (TR Daily, Sept. 5). He succeeded Sue Swenson, who was term-limited in leading the board and, along with Vice Chairman Jeff Johnson, resigned from FirstNet in August (TR Daily, Aug. 20). Mr. Horowitz named Hennepin County, Minn., Sheriff Richard Stanek as vice chairman of the board (TR Daily, Sept. 24). Mr. Horowitz joined the FirstNet board in 2015 (TR Daily, Aug. 19, 2015), and Sheriff Stanek was appointed in 2014 (TR Daily, Sept. 4, 2014).

In October, Mr. Ross announced the appointment of five new board members and the reappointment of Neil Cox (TR Daily, Oct. 31). The appointments brought the board to a full complement of 15 members for the first time since the end of 2016, when Barry Boniface resigned. Mr. Ross today officially swore in the new and reappointed board members

In an interview, Mr. Horowitz told TR Daily that he’s looking forward to Thursday’s meeting of the newly constituted board. The session will be a joint meeting of the board and its four committees. The meeting is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Tysons Corner Center, 7901 Tysons One Place, McLean, Va.

FirstNet has released the committee assignments for board members. Mr. Horowitz, who most recently chaired the Finance Committee, will chair the Governance and Personnel Committee. Robert Osterthaler will chair the Finance Committee, Mr. Stanek will chair the Public Safety Advocacy Committee, and Mr. Cox will continue to chair the Technology Committee.

Mr. Horowitz, a venture capital and technology industry veteran who is currently founder and chairman of Edslink LLC, a venture capital firm, detailed several FirstNet activities that have kept him busy since he was appointed board chairman.

He noted that he worked with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, where FirstNet is housed, to finalize the new board appointments and to develop a process to hire a new permanent chief executive officer to replace Mike Poth, who left in September (TR Daily, Sept. 5) (Ed Parkinson is the acting CEO); named Sheriff Stanek as vice chair; appointed Todd Early chair of the board’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (TR Daily, Nov. 20); made committee assignments; and met with representatives of major public safety groups, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Sheriffs’ Association, and Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, December 6, 2018

Looking Back and Looking Forward.  As we enter the 21st month of the 25-year contract between FirstNet the Authority and FirstNet (Built with AT&T), the last three of this year’s Public Safety Advocates will examine what has already transpired and what may lie ahead for FirstNet in 2019. As you read these three Advocates, keep in mind that had the contract been awarded to a vendor that was focused simply on building out Band 14 (the public safety spectrum), this vendor would only have been required to have 60-percent of the network built out in metro areas at this point in time.

Instead, the RFP winner, AT&T, offered up all of its existing LTE spectrum plus Band 14. This had a significant impact on public safety communications. First, today, only 21 months into the contract, FirstNet (Built with AT&T) is providing far more than 60-percent coverage in metro areas with full priority access including pre-emption where and when needed. Further, AT&T has stated that as it continues to build out its own LTE network, the FirstNet network will also have access and when it starts building out its 5G system, FirstNet will be part of that, too.

The questions I will ask and try to answer are about Push-To-Talk (PTT), both on- and off-network, coverage that still needs to be completed in metro, suburban, and rural areas, and finally what lies ahead for 2019.

All this will be weighed against goals that created FirstNet: To have a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN) for public safety’s use including full pre-emption. We have not yet reached this goal but it is still in early in the development of the network. Some believe we can come close to achieving this goal but there will be some agencies that do not join FirstNet, at least in the next few years. I have to believe that as these agencies recognize the advantages of fully interoperable communications for the first time in the history of public safety communications, they will join in and this goal will eventually be realized.  Read the Entire Post here. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, November 29, 2018

Presentations and Awards. On Tuesday the week before Thanksgiving, I flew to Denver to speak at a FirstNet Association (FNA) event and on Wednesday I flew home. Then on Thursday, I started out on what became a two-day trek to New York City due to weather delays. When I finally arrived in NYC, it was late on Friday so I was only able to join the Radio Club of America (RCA) board of directors meeting for the last thirty minutes. This was my last board meeting and I regret I could not have been there for the entire meeting but stormy weather and flying don’t often go well together.

FirstNet Association (FNA). The presentation I gave for attendees who came to hear the latest about FirstNet focused on coverage and the PowerPoint slides can be found here. The first slide set the level of expectations versus today’s progress. It shows that at present we are in month twenty of the contract between AT&T and FirstNet the Authority and outlined RFP-stated FirstNet milestones that would have to be met for the bidder to be compliant and on-track for building the network. When the RFP was developed, conventional wisdom was that a bidder would win the contract and deploy Band 14 (20 MHz of spectrum) for public safety over a five-year period.

Instead, when AT&T was awarded the contract, it provided public safety with full access to all AT&T LTE spectrum along with a plan to add Band 14 to its sites. The slide for month twenty states that at the end of twenty-four months of contract, “Achievement of 60% of contractor’s proposed Band 14 coverage in non-rural areas” should be complete. While only 60-percent of non-rural areas are required to be covered by Band 14 now, the FirstNet (Built with AT&T) footprint is much broader. Read the Entire Post Here. Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, November 11, 2018

Critical LTE Communications Forum and More.  This week’s Advocate is late since I attended and took part in the International Wireless Communications Expo (IWCE) Critical LTE Communications Forum. There were about 200 folks in attendance, all with a keen interest in broadband communications for public safety. The sessions were great for the most part but there were occasional topics where some speakers presented information or ideas that were simply wrong or conveyed advances as coming much faster than they actually will.

For some reason, neither FirstNet (Built by AT&T) nor the FirstNet Authority had any sponsorship or participation. However, there were FirstNet folks in the audience. This lack of FirstNet visibility allowed the first keynote by Verizon to contain comments that could have and should have been countered by FirstNet. These issues included sharing networks, how soon Verizon’s Mission-Critical Push-To-Talk (PTT) would come to its network, and then a plea for states to include a statement in their policy that would make it mandatory for full network interoperability.

Verizon’s take on Mission-Critical Push-To-Talk was that it would roll it out in 2019. Then, in the same sentence, stated this would soon be followed by off-network LTE or Proximity Services (ProSe). Neither of these statements is based on actual fact and later in the day during the PTT panel (see below), I finally heard that the first iteration of Mission-Critical PTT was nothing more than a first-generation product and it would be years before all the kinks had been worked out.
Read the Entire Post Here .

Here are the articles I have selected with the help of Discovery Patterns artificial intelligence

Fiber forward: FCC awards waiver for county broadband project Continue reading

Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, November 1, 2018

LMR, FirstNet, WiFi, Just to be Clear, and More. Last week’s Advocate discussed the integration, over time, of NG9-1-1, FirstNet, Land Mobile Radio (LMR), and WiFi into a homogenous communications system for public safety. Before last week, I had written multiple Advocates about LMR and FirstNet working hand-in-hand and in recent months I have been promoting a way to integrate FirstNet, LMR, and WiFi into a solid, interactive communications platform for all of the public safety community.

It was, therefore, a shock to me to read a response to last week’s Advocate from a gentleman I have conversed with and met on several occasions. The response to my columns is moderated on AllThingsFirstNet.com but I have never chosen to not accept any comment, good or bad, as that goes with the territory.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, after I approved the comment for inclusion at the bottom of the Advocate and typed in my response, the site went down. The web folks were able to save a copy of the comment and my response, which is directly below:

“Welcome back Andy, I have been a little disappointed in the past few articles since they have been focused on FirstNet and the possibilities making it seem like you were advocating to replace LMR today. I agree that the current radio will evolve to include data/text/video, but as you stated in todays article, it will be a while until all the pieces fit together.”

My response: “First of all thank you for the comment but I am horrified that anyone reading my Advocate would believe that I am about replacing LMR with FirstNet, I think you will find that I have always stated that LMR is a vital and important part of overall public safety communications. I have been very vocal in my call for LMR to LTE PTT solutions and I have, I thought been very clear about the fact that LMR is a vital portion of the public safety communications picture and will be for many, many Years. Best regards, Andy”

The comments he made indicated that even though he was a long-time reader he apparently thought that in a number of my articles I was making a case for FirstNet as the only network for public safety. This is what surprised me. I have, for many, many years, said that FirstNet and LMR (and WiFi) will work in concert with each other and that LMR has a long life left within the public safety community. In the most recent hurricanes, both LMR and FirstNet were up and running and where one was not, the other was. So, to be very clear, my vision of public safety going forward is robust and up-to-date NG9-1-1 systems, LMR, FirstNet, and WiFi where available. I believe this will provide the best of all worlds.
Read the Entire Post Here . Continue reading

ACTING CEO EDWARD PARKINSON: Welcoming new members to the FirstNet Board

Dear colleagues,

I’m excited to share that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has made the 2018 appointments to our Board, filling five new seats and reappointing one Board member. We welcome the following members to our Board:

  • Richard Carrizzo, Chief of the Southern Platte Fire Protection District, Kansas City, MO, who also serves as lead fire representative on the policy Board that manages the region’s 911 system.
  • Welton Chase, Jr., Brig. Gen. (Ret.), U.S. Army, Army Information Technology (Signal), led the Army’s largest theater information technology organization supporting over 430,000 Army users across 81 data centers in 38 states.
  • Brian Crawford, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Shreveport, LA, responsible for the city’s fire, police and public works departments, who brings public safety experience as the former Fire Chief of Plano, TX, and Shreveport, LA; was a flight paramedic; and served as Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Louisiana State Police.
  • Billy Hewes, Mayor, Gulfport, MS, who’s played a key role in recovery operations from natural and manmade disasters.
  • Paul R. Patrick, Division Director, Family Health and Preparedness, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, and past president of the National Association of State EMS Officials.

As you can see from their experience, our Board has the skills to support us through the next phases of FirstNet, with deep experience in public safety operations; cyber; telecommunications; and federal, state and local government. Because our Board members come from across the nation, they understand the needs of our stakeholders — whether in remote/rural or more urban areas.

I also want to take a moment to recognize the Board members who have completed their service to FirstNet, including Kevin McGinnis, a member of the Board from its inception and a strong voice for the EMS community, and Annise Parker, who served on the Board’s Committee for Public Safety Advocacy and helped us engage with our local government stakeholders. We’re incredibly grateful for all they’ve done for our organization and public safety as part of FirstNet.

With our Board now in place, let’s move full speed ahead to deliver on the promise of FirstNet. Together, we’re creating a broadband communications experience that transforms public safety operations – and saves lives.



Ross Announces Five New FirstNet Board Members, Reappointment

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross today announced the appointment of five new members of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) board and the reappointment of board member Neil Cox, the chairman of the board’s Technology Committee.

The appointments bring the board to a full complement of 15 members for the first time since the end of 2016, when Barry Boniface resigned.

“I am proud to announce the selection of these highly qualified new Board members, whose experience in public service and the private sector will ensure FirstNet continues to provide the world-class communications network our emergency responders need,” said Secretary Ross, who last month reappointed Edward Horowitz to the board and designated him as chairman (TR Daily, Sept. 5). “I thank our new members for their willingness to join the Board and guide FirstNet in its mission to save lives and keep our communities safe.”

The five new board members, each of whom was appointed to a three-year term, are: Richard Carrizzo, chief of the Southern Platte Fire Protection District in Kansas City, Mo., and lead fire representative on the policy board that manages the region’s 911 system; Welton Chase Jr., a retired Army brigadier general who led the Army’s largest theater information technology organization, which supported more than 430,000 Army users across 81 data centers in 38 states; Brian Crawford, chief administrative officer of Shreveport, La.; Billy Hewes, mayor of Gulfport, Miss.; and Paul Patrick, division director-Family Health and Preparedness for the Utah Department of Health, past president of the National Association of State EMS Officials, and interim director of the FirstNet board’s Public Safety Advisory Committee. Continue reading