Why Rush a FirstNet State Plan Decision?
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | Comments

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T released most of the state plans Monday. The plans, delivered to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and two of five U.S. territories through an online portal, will provide state and local employees and ultimately the governor with the details they need to make a decision about whether to opt in or out of the FirstNet and AT&T agreement for their state.

States have 45 days to review the plan and offer comments back to FirstNet. FirstNet and AT&T officials will take 45 days to adjudicate the comments. At that point around mid-September, FirstNet will make the plan official and notify the governor, and then the 90-day window for an opt-in or opt-out decision begins.

If a state has no questions or changes to its state plan and is satisfied, the state can start the 90-day opt-in/opt-out window early.

David Vice, the Indiana state point of contact (SPOC), said that Indiana will conduct 10 regional seminars after the state plan is released to further educate and seek information on local AT&T coverage existence and future needs. “Consequently, we will be utilizing at least a portion of that window of time for evaluation of the state plan, consultation with AT&T and FirstNet, and our subsequent discussion with the governor leading to the decision to opt in or out,” he said.

“We are still looking for much of the information that will come with the state plan,” said Arnold Hooper, Tennessee’s SPOC. “One of the major issues that I see is that AT&T doesn’t fully understand incident command and how the local control portion fits at this time. This will come as they become more entrenched in providing communications for public safety. We will have a lot of work to do after we receive the plan.”

Both Indiana and Tennessee are taking prudent approaches to a final decision. It makes sense. Why rush into a decision of this magnitude? This affects your state for the next 25 years at a minimum.

FirstNet took five years to deliver state plans. Surely, states should take the full 45 days to study their plans, go back to FirstNet and AT&T with concerns and requests, and hammer out even better plans at the end of the first 90-day period. Then take the next 90 days to compare and discuss specifics to ensure the plan meets your needs. A final opt in or out decision by mid-December is already a quick turnaround, so use the time to your advantage.

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Comments
On 6/30/17, Chas said:
Remember when AT&T Worldnet thought that they should be in control of everything. And after securing most of it, went belly up with golden parachutes to the top. I do. But hey, AT&T is back much better than new ... And still doesn't understand after 25 years how everything should work. Be leery.


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