NASCIO Report Tracks States’ Planning Strategies for FirstNet (6/12/14)
Thursday, June 12, 2014 | Comments

State governments are taking divergent approaches to planning and varied strategies for engaging with federal and local partners for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), according to a report from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO).

The research report is based on the results of a survey of state CIOs that illustrates not only the ongoing planning around the network, but also the diverse approaches being employed by the states for engagement with local stakeholders, FirstNet officials and even other states. It also shows a significant distribution in the maturity of state planning, ongoing outreach and governance strategies.

“Building a nationwide public-safety communications network is going to require a tremendous amount of planning, negotiation and collaboration across all levels of government,” said Darryl Ackley, co-chair of the NASCIO Broadband Committee and CIO for the state of New Mexico. “This report provides an early snapshot of how the states are approaching this extremely complex policy and infrastructure initiative.”

Some of NASCIO’s results were surprising, with almost one-quarter of states not engaged in active stakeholder outreach and more than half the states already collecting data they plan to use in their planning efforts. NASCIO also found that while more than 70 percent of states appear to have a governance model in place and are turning toward actively engaging in planning and outreach with key stakeholders, some have aggressively moved ahead and have begun collecting data, while a handful are still working on initial governance and staffing concerns.

“FirstNet is a major intergovernmental undertaking, with the need for states to do budgeting forecasts, infrastructure and technology planning, and education and outreach to potential users,” said NASCIO Broadband Committee Co-Chair and CIO for Wisconsin David Cagigal. “How states approach this problem will have a significant bearing on whether we end up with a successful, sustainable model for this major national endeavor.”

Under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, FirstNet is tasked with building, operating and maintaining the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety in conjunction with the states.

“FirstNet is pleased that the report shows the states and territories are making measurable progress in key areas such as governance and planning, which are critical at this stage of developing the network,” a FirstNet spokesman said. “FirstNet thanks NASCIO for conducting the survey and looks forward to leveraging the results for our initial consultation efforts and to continue to improve our outreach activities in the states and territories. The report also provides significant value to the state single points of contacts (SPOCs), as it includes best practices for governance, outreach and coordination on FirstNet.”

The report, “The States and FirstNet: An Early Look from the State CIOs,” is available at http://www.nascio.org/publications/
documents/NASCIO_FirstNet_June2014_FINAL.pdf
.

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