FirstNet and State USF News and Information

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

FirstNet and State USF News and Information

FirstNet Possibly on the Right Track
Categories:
Broadband
By Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA
October 4, 2015
In the world of public policy, it’s always critical to keep your expectations reasonable. NTCA has spent the time since Capitol Hill legislatively established FirstNet, the first nationwide public safety network, working to ensure the infrastructure that rural communications providers have built out in their low-density communities finds a way to be utilized by this national network. Jesse Ward, the manager industry & policy analysis on our team, has essentially devoted a majority of her work this past year to working with NTCA stakeholders and pulling our internal efforts together, plus on educating the national FirstNet group, to stay laser focused on ensuring that resources for this network are used most efficiently and on ensuring the network can actually be seen as an opportunity instead of as a threat.
Last week saw a great deal of activity on this front, including our South Dakota folks setting up a meeting with Senator Thune’s team, along with FirstNet leadership and a FirstNet series of meetings with their committees and boards. Those meetings yielded some decisions before the week concluded.
I was delighted to receive a call from FirstNet leadership informing me that the FirstNet board had spent a great deal of time deliberating on the best and fastest way to actually build this network, and the board realized that a key component was finding a way to use the advanced networks that rural carriers have built to bring that last mile to rural America. It appears that there will be a national contract to be bid on for the construction of this network; however, there will be a hook. The hook will be that there will be provisions requiring partnerships with rural carriers. NTCA members have been eager for the opportunity to participate in the FirstNet effort, and we applaud and are greatly encouraged by the specific reference last week by the FirstNet board to collaborate with rural telecommunications providers in fulfilling the mission of deploying and operating a nationwide public safety network. NTCA’s small-business members look forward to playing a meaningful role to furthering the success of FirstNet, especially in rural areas where the networks of these small providers will be essential to achieving that success for the benefit of all Americans.

[copied from 10/5/ NTCA email from Tom Wacker]
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