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

Monday, November 17, 2014

FirstNet Weekly Update - November 17, 2014

FirstNet News

  • The user advocacy team conducted the seventh state consultation meeting this week in Puerto Rico.  The meeting was attended by more than 100 public safety representatives from the territory. 
  • The user advocacy team will conduct initial consultation meetings with Iowa on November 18 and Florida on December 12. The state consultation team continues to work with several states on scheduling meetings for 2015.
  • Last week, FirstNet presented at The Performance Institute, the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) (via webinar), the DHS Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) and Wireless Priority Service (WPS) Team Forum, the American Petroleum Institute Telecommunications (API) Subcommittee and at the NPSTC meeting.
  • FirstNet conducted its second webinar for NASNA members. The following states were represented: Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.
  • TJ Kennedy, along with DHS OEC Director Ron Hewitt and Delaware SPOC and SWIC Mark Grubb, will be testifying on November 18 before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing on Emergency Communications. 
  • To date, FirstNet has received completed state consultation checklists from 32 states and territories: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Iowa, Kansas, 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.
  • In the Federal Register, FirstNet announced its intent to prepare five regional Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements (“PEISs”) and conduct public scoping meetings to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the proposed nationwide public safety broadband network. The specific locations, dates, and times for the scoping meetings will be announced on the FirstNet Web site, no later than one week prior to each meeting. We will discuss this further on the upcoming SPOC calls.
  • We now have four new RSS Feeds in place on The available feeds are:
    • FirstNet Blogs
    • FirstNet Press Releases
    • FirstNet Federal Register Notices
    • FirstNet Jobs

You can view the feeds via the new RSS Feeds page at: or by clicking the new icon at the top of the home page.

  • FirstNet is currently accepting applications for the following vacancies:


Supervisory Communications Program Specialist (Region 6 - Outreach Lead) GS-0301-15

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

Location:  Little Rock, AR; Baton Rouge, LA; Santa Fe County, NM; Oklahoma County, OK; Austin, TX (note this is a permanent telework position)

MAP vacancy announcement:  NTIA-FRNA-2015-0038 (open to those currently or previously employed by the federal government)

DEU vacancy announcementNTIA-FRNA-2015-0037 (open to all qualified U.S. citizens)


Supervisory Communications Program Specialist (Region 2 - Outreach Lead) GS-0301-15

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

Location:  Dover, DE; Trenton, NJ; Albany County, NY (note this is a permanent telework position)

MAP vacancy announcement:  NTIA-FRNA-2015-0034 (open to those currently or previously employed by the federal government)

DEU vacancy announcementNTIA-FRNA-2015-0033 (open to all qualified U.S. citizens)


Supervisory Communications Program Specialist (Region 4- Outreach Lead) GS-0301-15

First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet)

Location:  Montgomery County, AL; Tallahassee, FL; Atlanta, GA; Frankfort, KY; Jackson County, MS; Raleigh, NC; Columbia, SC; Nashville, TN (note this is a permanent telework position)

MAP vacancy announcement:  NTIA-FRNA-2015-0035(open to those currently or previously employed by the federal government)

DEU vacancy announcementNTIA-FRNA-2015-0036 (open to all qualified U.S. citizens)


From the States and PSAC Organizations

  • FirstNet staff participated in a coordination meeting with 16 attendees in New Mexico to discuss progress on their BTOP effort and address questions.  The group also visited 2 potential sites for the project.
  • This week, FirstNet will be presenting with state teams at the Oklahoma Regional Outreach Summit in Ardmore, the California 9-1-1 Town Hall in Sacramento, and the California E9-1-1 Advisory Board meeting in Santa Maria.
  • Kevin McGinnis will present at the IAEM Conference on November 18.
  • Regional calls for December will all occur between Dec 15 - 19 in order to avoid conflicts with the NCSWIC meeting and to include updates from the FirstNet Board meeting.  Additionally, the invitations for the 2015 monthly regional SPOC/SWIC calls and the quarterly SPOC webinars went out on Nov 14.  Please make sure you check for these in your inbox.

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
Among the public safety broadband media reports this week, the AWS-3 auction received a lot of coverage as did the issue of utilities’ access to the FirstNet network.  The AWS-3 auction generated $1.7 billion in bids on the first day of the auction on November 13.  Urgent Comms held a webinar on the subject of utilities communications, and it generated discussions and articles about utilities and FirstNet (see stories below).


Urgent Communications: Differences on ‘public-safety entity’ definition may be addressable by FirstNet (11/13/14

In recent filings with FirstNet regarding the definition of a "public-safety entity" that would be eligible for priority-access consideration, commercial wireless carrier AT&T and utilities associations approach the matter very differently, but their final conclusions include a lot of similarities.


NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association: FirstNet Acting General Manager Discusses Urgency of Public Safety Network (11/12/14)

FirstNet Acting General Manager TJ Kennedy said during an interview with NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield that the agency’s goal is to accelerate the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network.  


Urgent Communications: Webinar participants say wireless priority status essential for utilities (11/10/14)

Elevating their wireless status will be a primary concern for utilities as they work with FirstNet to explore the possible role of utilities in the development and operation of the new network, utility-communications experts said during a recent IWCE’s Urgent Communications webinar.



Social Media

The FirstNet Twitter account now has more than 1,175 followers, and the LinkedIn account has more than 330 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.