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 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 and follow FirstNet (@FirstNetGov) on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

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

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
Questions Please reply to this email with questions.

CORRECTION: NEW TIME/DATE: FirstNet Board announces special meeting, Tuesday, March 28, 9 a.m.

The date has changed for the special meeting of the FirstNet Board next week. FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) members are invited to listen. Please see the teleconference information below.
Date/time NEW: Tuesday, March 28, 9 a.m. ET.

Note: The time and date listed above are subject to change.  Please refer to FirstNet’s website at for the most up-to-date information.

Teleconference Members of the public may join the meeting in “listen-only” mode by dialing toll free1-877-960-9067 and using passcode 2095167#.
Questions Please contact Kenzie Capece or reply to this email.


Andy Seybold’s Public Safety Advocate, March 23, 2017

Public Safety Advocate: Opting In or Out?
Since the U.S. Federal Claims Court it has made the following statement via Business Wire: “Rivada Networks announced today that it will work directly with the states and territories that may want to exercise their right to opt-out of FirstNet’s federal solution.” Further into the press release it also stated, “FirstNet has made its choice. Now it is time for states to make theirs. Those that stand by idly will be forced into a federal solution that may or may not suit their needs or budgets. We look forward to working with the states to ensure that they receive a network equal to the promise made to public safety when FirstNet was created.”

Even during the period when the court had the Rivada ruling under consideration, Rivada has continued on its quest to convince states to opt out. Rivada has assembled an interesting assortment of folks to assist in its pursuit of opt-out states. It starts with Karl Rove, a well-known member of the Bush administration who is reportedly visiting most if not all of the states led by a Republican governor. This effort is augmented by others including Chris Moore who retired as a Police Chief from San Jose, Calif. Since the court has ruled in favor of the government and FirstNet, Rivada is redoubling its efforts to convince states to opt out in favor of Rivada’s offering.

Rivada has decided to cast the opt-in decision as one in which the state is at the mercy of the federal government and may not end up with a Public Safety system that suits its needs. On the other side, I question whether a company that is not a network operator and to my knowledge operates few if any cellular networks, is a viable alternative for the states to consider. As my readers know, I recommend what I consider to be an opt-in-plus approach. The plus is made up of further negotiations with the winning bidder and FirstNet that would go beyond the opt-in state plan and provide a methodology for the state and jurisdictions within the state to add value to the network over time.

In the meantime, before the contract is officially awarded, outside pressure is being brought to bear on the states. I thought it might be a worthwhile endeavor to suggest some questions I believe should be asked by each state, territory, and tribal nation. It is only fair to the governor of each state to have all of the information available to make an intelligent decision. When I say intelligent decision, I do not mean one that fits with the party affiliation of the governor or his/her staff, I mean the decision that is best for the Public Safety agencies within the state going forward. Below are a number of questions I would ask or have my FirstNet team ask if I were the governor of a state. I have categorized them by subject matter for ease of this discussion. Continue reading

Court Rules in Favor of Government in Rivada Mercury FirstNet Bid Challenge

March 17, 2017–The U.S. Court of Federal Claims today ruled in favor of the U.S. government in litigation filed against the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) over its procurement process, clearing the way for FirstNet to announce an award to construct and maintain a nationwide public safety broadband network. The award is expected to go to AT&T, Inc., the last publicly known remaining bidder still in the running for the contract.

FirstNet had hoped to announce an award by Nov. 1, 2016, but Rivada Mercury LLC filed a lawsuit over what it said was the illegal and “wrongful exclusion” of the consortium from the FirstNet procurement process (TRDaily, Dec. 2, 2016). AT&T was an intervenor in the case.

Rivada Mercury is led by Rivada Networks LLC and includes Black & Veatch, Fujitsu Network Communications, Harris Corp., and Nokia, Inc. In a sealed opinion and order released today in “Rivada Mercury LLC v. United States of America”; no. 16-1559C, Judge Elaine D. Kaplan denied Rivada Mercury’s motion for judgment and granted cross-motions filed by the U.S. government and AT&T. A redacted version of today’s ruling could be released within weeks. Judge Kaplan held an oral argument in the case on March 3 (TRDaily, March 3). The oral argument was closed to the public and press, and substantive filings in the docket are sealed.

In a news release, FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth said, “We are pleased with the Court’s decision. This is a positive development for FirstNet and the public safety community. FirstNet intends to move expeditiously to finalize the contract for the nationwide public safety broadband network.” In an e-mail to members of FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee, Mr. Poth said, “As we said we would, FirstNet has continued to work on the procurement up to the point of an award. We are ready to move forward on the necessary steps to finalize the contract for the nationwide public safety broadband network. Among the next steps will include a special FirstNet Board meeting. We will provide the details for the meeting as they become available.” Continue reading

FirstNet Weekly Update to PSAC, March 20, 2017

FirstNet News

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in favor of FirstNet in the protest action. This is a positive development for FirstNet and the public safety community. FirstNet intends to move expeditiously to finalize the contract for the nationwide public safety broadband network.

Last Thursday, FirstNet hosted its inaugural International Public Safety Wireless Broadband Forum in Reston, Virginia. More than 20 public safety and technology leaders from Australia, Canada, Finland, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom presented on their public safety wireless efforts. FirstNet leadership also presented on progress to date and next steps beyond the contract award. Attendees benefitted from the forum and agreed to continue sharing updates and lessons learned.

FirstNet has now completed 48 State Governance Body Consultation Meetings with a meeting in Michigan last week. FirstNet staff traveled to Dimondale for the meeting of the Michigan Public Safety Communications Interoperability Board and discussed the Governor’s decision and the FirstNet State Plan. Michigan stakeholders also outlined their planning for the FirstNet State Plan review process. Continue reading