Need Help getting a local interopability project going? Ask the
State Interoperability Communications Team for help.

Monday, December 15, 2014

FirstNet SPOC Weekly Update - December 15, 2014

FirstNet News

  • The FirstNet Committee and Board meetings were held in Salt Lake City, UT on December 9-10, during which there was extensive discussion about the RFI, public notice and consultation. The Board liaison to the PSAC, Jeff Johnson, was appointed Vice Chair. The agenda and presentations may be found on our website:
  • The user advocacy team conducted the initial consultation meeting with Florida on December 12. Confirmed upcoming initial consultation meetings in 2015 are: Nevada (1/7), Colorado (1/14 or 1/15), Kentucky (1/28), Texas (2/11), Delaware (2/19), Arkansas (3/4), Massachusetts (3/12), Nebraska (3/18-3/19), Washington DC (3/26), South Dakota (4/1), North Carolina (4/23) and South Carolina (4/29).
  • Last week, FirstNet participated in a New Mexico Statewide State and Local Implementation Grant Program and Outreach event, U.S. Virgin Islands Commonwealth-Wide Outreach events and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) conference.
  • This week, FirstNet will be participating in a webinar for a Tribal Telecom Conference (TTC) session; the University of Alaska Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) Alaska Rural Broadband Workshop; and the ANCSA Regional Association, Alaska Inter-tribal Council, Denali Commission, and Tanana Chiefs Conference.
  • To date, FirstNet has received completed state consultation checklists from 37 states and territories: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.


From the States and PSAC Organizations

  • As a reminder, SPOC/SWIC calls will occur on December 15 (Regions 5 & 9), December 17 (Regions 6, 7 & 8), December 18 (Regions 1, 2 & 10), and December 19 (Regions 3 & 4).
  • The PSAC Early Builders Working Group will have a kick off conference call on December 16.



Media Watch

*The information provided is copied as-is from the media outlet source and is not edited by FirstNet.  Links to non-Federal Government websites do not constitute endorsement of any product, service, organization, company, information provider, or content.  Clicking on non-Department of Commerce hyperlinks will direct you to websites that are not under the Government’s control.


Traditional Media
There was significant media coverage on a number of fronts this week, with the IG report garnering the most attention from the online and trade publications that cover FirstNet, as well as other IT and congressional news outlets that only periodically cover FirstNet.  To date, the New York Times and McClatchy News Service are the only “tier 1” services to have covered the report. 


Additionally, it appears that the Board meeting may have shifted attention away from the IG report and toward FirstNet priorities and activities.  The day after the IG report saw several stories posted on key developments from the Board meeting, including the focus on consultation and Jeff Johnson’s appointment as Vice Chair.  We will continue to monitor any developments from the IG report, but as of today, we are not aware of any follow-up stories in production.  Recent Board meeting articles include the following: 


TR Daily (Summary): FirstNet Officials Stress Importance of Consultation Through Process

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) officials today stressed the importance of consulting with states and others in the public safety community throughout its process of planning and deploying a nationwide public safety broadband network, not just until it issues a comprehensive network request for proposals (RFP) and completes state plans and states decide whether to build their own radio access network (RAN).  “We have to continue to consult,” acting General Manager TJ Kennedy said at FirstNet board’s meeting in Salt Lake City. “Consultation’s an ongoing effort.”


Communications Daily (Summary): FirstNet's Attention Mostly Focused on Pending Request for Proposal, GM Says

Outreach and a pending request for proposal as FirstNet builds a network is dominating the time and attention of staff, acting General Manager TJ Kennedy told the FirstNet board Wednesday. “Almost everything else that we do in FirstNet supports these two efforts,” Kennedy said. The day after the release of a Commerce Department Inspector General report on irregularities at FirstNet (see 1412090043), the board met Wednesday, with members stressing the progress that has been made so far by the authority, established by the 2012 spectrum law. Kennedy said he's encouraged by the high totals of provisionally winning bids in the FCC’s AWS-3 auction. While bidding in the auction has slowed, it topped $43 billion Wednesday. There has been “lots of vigorous bidding,” said Kennedy. The results “give us great confidence that we’re now going to be funded for our initial $7 billion worth of funding,” he said.


Radio Resource: FirstNet Continues on Outreach and Consultation Path, Highlights RFI Findings

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) continues on its path of outreach and consultations with states and provided a presentation highlighting findings from its recent request for information (RFI) and public notice process during its Dec. 10 board meeting. Acting Executive Director TJ Kennedy said everything FirstNet is doing is focused on the consultation process and acquisition and request for proposals (RFP) process. “Everything we are doing is focused on this,” Kennedy said. “The two things work together. The two must go hand in hand.” Jeff Johnson, FirstNet board member and newly named


Government Technology: FirstNet CTO Ali Afrashteh Resigns

FirstNet lost another key member of its leadership this month. The leadership shuffle at the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) continues. Former FirstNet Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Ali Afrashteh has resigned, FirstNet confirmed this week. Afrashteh cited “personal reasons,” and FirstNet said it wished Afrashteh a “speedy recovery.”


Social Media

Social media discussions focused on the main news stories of the week – including the Politico story about whether more AWS auction funding should go to FirstNet; the IG Report; and Board meetings.  Sue’s blog response to the IG Report was referenced on social media and in news articles.  The “A Message from the FirstNet Chair” received 327 views within the two days, which is more than triple the amount of normal blog views in the first couple days of being posted.  The FirstNet Twitter account now has more than 1,306 followers, and the LinkedIn account has more than 384 followers. 


The Board meeting generated a lot of interest and engagement over Twitter, with several stakeholders retweeting FirstNet messages and some reporters tweeting real-time quotes from Board members during the meeting.  We also posted a number of blogs over the past week, including stories about our environmental scoping program; the NJ BTOP project; and introducing new members to the technical team.  Our blog posts from this week can be found at: We have a number of blogs in the queue for the next week to keep the dialogue moving forward on other key issues (i.e., Florida consultation, the New Mexico BTOP, recent meetings with Canadian public safety officials; meeting with Dallas public safety officials).

Monday, October 06, 2014

Fall SWIC Newsletter

The Fall edition of the SWIC Newsletter has been released. It contains valuable information regarding various OEC programs which support SWIC activities, as well as content provided by SWICs Steve Noel (OR), Chuck Murph (AL), Craig Allen (IA), and Brandon Smith (VA).
Friday, October 03, 2014

2014 SWIC Success Stories

The 2014 SWIC Success Stories have been released which were developed in collaboration with the joint SAFECOM Funding and Sustainment Committee and the NCSWIC Sustainment Working Group.  This document highlights States’ successes as a result of resent SWIC’s efforts.  These individual stories are just a snapshot of SWIC achievements in 2014.
Thursday, October 02, 2014

WI FirstNet Newsletter - October 2014

Please find the second newsletter dedicated to the Public Safety Broadband Wireless project in Wisconsin. It may be found here: October 2014 WI FirstNet Newsletter

Thursday, October 02, 2014

FCC Update for the Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB)

·            700 MHz Narrowband R&O Latest Update:  The Commission has been receiving waiver requests seeking relief from the December 31, 2016, 700 MHz narrowbanding deadline.  The FCC and the Public Safety Bureau have been hard at work and focused on releasing this rulemaking as soon as possible.

·            FCC Announces Agenda for October Open Meeting:  FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that the following items will be on the tentative agenda for the next open meeting scheduled for Friday, October 17, 2014: 

    • Spectrum Frontiers NOI: The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry to explore innovative developments in the use of spectrum above 24 GHz for mobile wireless services, and how the Commission can facilitate the development and deployment of those technologies.
    • Wireless Infrastructure Report and Order: The Commission will consider a Report and Order that takes critical steps to promote the deployment of wireless infrastructure necessary to provide the public with ubiquitous, advanced wireless broadband services.
    • Aggregate Interference and Inter-Service Interference Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: The Commission will consider a proceeding to address aggregate broadcaster-to-broadcaster interference and the methodology for predicting interference between broadcast and wireless operations in the same or adjacent channels in nearby markets during and following the Incentive Auction.
    •  Digital Low Power Television Third NPRM and Suspension Public Notice: The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding measures to facilitate the final conversion of low power TV and TV translator stations to digital service, and mitigating the potential impact of the incentive auction and the repacking process. The Commission will also consider a concurrent Public Notice suspending expiration dates and construction deadlines for all outstanding unexpired construction permits for new digital low power television and TV translator stations.
    • 911 Outage Presentation: The Commission will hear a presentation regarding an inquiry into a major 911service outage that affected seven states in April 2014. The presentation will include findings from a report on the causes and effects of the outage as well as recommendations on actions the industry, the Commission and state governments can take to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of 911 services as the nation transitions to Next Generation 911.

 The Open Meeting is scheduled to commence at 10:30 a.m. in Room TW-C305, at 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. The event will be shown live at


·         Fake Cell Towers:  FCC rules prohibit the intentional or willful interception of cellular communications.  The FCC is aware of stories in the media regarding these devices and has put together a team to look into the facts surrounding these allegations.

·         700 MHz Mexico and Canada Cross-Border Agreements:  In September 2012, Cofetel announced its recommendation that Mexico adopt the 700 MHz Asia Pacific (APT) band plan, which raises interference concerns for the U.S.  In 2013, Mexico replaced Cofetel with a new regulatory agency, IFETEL, but this is unlikely to change Mexico’s position on 700 MHz.

·            911 – Non-Service Initialized Cellphones:  The Bureau has been working this issue and plans to release a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking outlining a potential course of action and will seek public comment.


Chronological Overview of Recent FCC Public Safety Related Releases


October 1:  Workshop on Tower Climber Safety and Injury Prevention:


September 16:  Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Announces Comment and Reply Comment Dates for the Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Text-to-911 Proceeding.


Comment Date:  October 16, 2014

Reply Comment Date:  November 17, 2014


For further information regarding this proceeding, contact Dana Zelman, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, Policy and Licensing Division,, 202-418-0546.


The Rulemaking is attached to this email.  Here’s the notice that accompanied the release of the rulemaking in August:




Building on the Progress of Large Wireless Carriers,

FCC Establishes Timetable for Remaining Text Messaging Providers to Support Text-to-911


Washington, D.C. –The Federal Communications Commission today adopted rules requiring text messaging providers to enable Americans to text 911 in an emergency. Building on commitments made by America’s four largest wireless carriers to support text-to-911 by May 2014, the new rules will ensure that all remaining wireless carriers and certain IP-based text application providers are prepared to support text-to-911 by the end of the year. After that time, if a 911 call center requests text-to-911, text messaging providers will have six months to deploy the service in that area.


Today’s action will make text-to-911 more uniformly available and keeps pace with how Americans communicate. Reports indicate that more than 7 out of 10 cell phone users send or receive text messages. Text messaging is also widely used by Americans who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities.


The Commission’s text-to-911 requirements apply to wireless carriers and “interconnected” text messaging providers (i.e., those which enable consumers to send text messages to and from U.S. phone numbers). This includes providers of “over the top” applications that support texting to and from phone numbers but not, for example, messaging apps that only support communications among users of games or social media.


The Commission also adopted a Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on the continued evolution of text-to-911, including the delivery of location information and support for text-to-911 when roaming.


Although text-to-911 availability is currently limited, it is rapidly expanding. More than one hundred 911 call centers serving portions of 16 states and two entire states (Vermont and Maine) are now accepting emergency texts, and there are already reports of lives saved. To help protect consumers as text-to-911 is deployed, the Commission previously adopted rules requiring text messaging providers to send an automatic “bounce-back” text message to consumers who try to text 911 where the service is not available.


Text-to-911 can provide a lifesaving alternative in a number of different situations, such as where a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or has a speech disability is unable to make a voice call; where voice networks are congested; or where a 911 voice call could endanger the caller. Approximately 48 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing, and approximately 7.5 million Americans have speech disabilities. However text-to-911 is a complement to, not a substitute for, existing voice-based 911 service, so consumers should make a voice call to contact 911 during an emergency when possible; consumers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled should use relay services or other existing methods to contact 911 if text-to-911 is unavailable.


Action by the Commission August 8, 2014, by Second Report and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 14-118).  Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Rosenworcel, Commissioner Clyburn approving in part and dissenting in part, Commissioner Pai dissenting and Commissioner O’Rielly concurring in part and dissenting in part.  Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and O’Rielly issuing statements.