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Monday, October 27, 2014

FirstNet Weekly Update - October 27, 2014

FirstNet News

  • The deadline to respond to both the Request for Information (RFI) and the Public Notice closes today, October 27.
  • FirstNet participated on a panel at the Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group (CITIG) Workshop on October 22.  Canada is in the beginning stages of preparing for a public safety broadband network, so the workshop was a great opportunity for FirstNet to provide best practices and lessons learned to their public safety community.  In addition, representatives from bordering U.S. states attended the event and provided their local perspectives on FirstNet’s plans to deploy a nationwide public safety broadband network. 
  • To date, FirstNet has received completed state consultation checklists from 29 states and territories: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Washington, Washington DC, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
  • The next consultation meetings will be October 29 in Montana; November 6 in Utah; November 18 in Iowa; and December 12 in Florida.
  • The SLIGP Team recently released two best practices documents regarding outreach and education and governance, available on the NTIA website:  Recommendations for SLIGP Recipient Outreach and Education for Public Safety Broadband and Recommendations for SLIGP Recipient Governance for Public Safety Broadband.

From the States and PSAC Organizations

  • FirstNet presented the latest updates to approximately 80 stakeholders at the Kansas National Public Safety Broadband Network Conference and 230 stakeholders at the third annual Wyoming Broadband Summit on October 21.  Additional information about the events, including links to the event websites, is available at
  • The annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference and Major Cities Chiefs fall meeting started late last week; FirstNet Board member Chief Burbank and Acting General Manager TJ Kennedy, along with FirstNet staff, presented to iCERT and provided briefings and addressed questions at many IACP committee meetings.  Staff will be in attendance at the event meeting with stakeholders through Tuesday.  In total FirstNet is participating in 33 events, with 15 formal speaking engagements.
  • This week FirstNet is presenting at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 71st Annual Convention and Market Place, the Texas A&M Workshop and Live Exercise Observation, and the Virginia APCO/NENA/Interoperability Conference.

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 were several stories about first responder communications and FirstNet this week, but no consistent theme among the stories.  

Urgent Communications:  Partnerships are much more than contracts—an important distinction for FirstNet (10/23/2014)

The FirstNet board of directors understands completely what public/private partnerships will entail for FirstNet, and I know FirstNet management gets it, too. These individuals have all been involved in the real world of public safety or telecommunications for a long time. Unfortunately, it appears to me that those within the federal government who really run FirstNet don’t have a clue about the difference between a contract and a partnership.

Emergency Management:  FirstNet: When Headlines Go Sideways (10/22/2014)

The Federal FirstNet team is being put in place and flushed out with staff. The coordination process is just starting with the states and territories. To date there have only been a handful of what they call initial FirstNet consultations. Washington state had its last week with around 175 people in attendance (highest number of attendees to date). This included a broad representation of all the first responder agencies -- and everyone was invited to attend.


An interview with FirstNet Acting General Manager TJ Kennedy will be featured on The Business of Government Hour, a platform for government executives to discuss their careers, their agencies, agency accomplishments, as well as their vision of government in the 21st century.  The interview will be broadcast today at 11:00 am EST and Wednesday, October 29 at noon EST Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED,  Those outside of the Washington, D.C. area, can listen to the live stream on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED.  For those who miss the airings, the interview will be available through:

  • The Business of Government Hour Site:  To listen to the show on your computer, click on an audio segment from the Radio Show section of the Center’s web site to launch it.  To download the show as a podcast on your computer or mobile player, right click on an audio segment, select Save Target As, and save the file accordingly.
  • @  iTunes:  Subscribe to The Business of Government Hour podcast on iTunes for free to get all insightful, in-depth conversations with government leaders who are changing the way government does business.

Social Media

FirstNet continued to promote the RFI and Public Notice using social media to increase public safety awareness and involvement.  We also saw significant engagement during the various stakeholder events that the outreach team participated in last week.  The FirstNet Twitter account now has more than 1,080 followers, and the LinkedIn account has more than 280 followers.  Our blog posts from this week can be found at:
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.