FirstNet RFP wins board approval
The First Responders Network Authority board unanimously approved the request for proposal giving broad outlines and direction for a nationwide, public-private LTE network for first responders. The FirstNet RFP is set to be released in early January.
The RFP approval marks the next stage of FirstNet’s work and is the result of its representatives attending hundreds of events for outreach and input, as well as making 14 formal information requests from public safety and industry representatives on various technological and user aspects of the future network. The 15-member board issued a draft RFP earlier this year and accomplished its goal of approving a final RFP by the end of 2015. The FirstNet RFP was approved during a two-day FirstNet meeting in Houston this week.
FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson said in a statement the decision represented “a landmark day for FirstNet and public safety.
“By approving the RFP, the board has taken a major step forward to deliver a mission-critical network that first responders deserve – one that is dedicated to public safety, is secure, sustainable and will continuously utilize state of the art technology across America,” Swenson said.
FirstNet said the RFP is “objectives based and incorporates public safety’s needs for a nationwide broadband network.” The network will utilize 20 megahertz of spectrum in the the 700 MHz Band 14 – 10 megahertz in the uplink and 10 megahertz in the downlink. Five early builder projects around the country, from Los Angeles to New Jersey, are already testing various capabilities from deployable network assets to handsets and a hosted core.
In the draft RFP, FirstNet outlined its goal for the network to be one with a “single national architecture that evolves with technological advances and initially consists of a core and a radio access network.”
As the organization waits for the results of the RFP to come to fruition, plans for the next phase of work and outreach are already in play. FirstNet has identified a number of goals for the coming year (slide pdf), including continuing to obtain information from stakeholders that will guide network planning; preparing governors for decisions on state-level plans; and preparing stakeholders for adoption and use of the new LTE network. FirstNet representatives attended more than 300 events over the course of the process.