NTIA Requests Comments on Process for Opt-Out States, Aug. 18 Deadline
Tuesday, July 19, 2016 | Comments

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued a public notice outlining the alternative path states could take to connect to the First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) nationwide public-safety broadband network.

NTIA said the notice provides preliminary guidance on the “rigorous process” it is developing to review applications for its State Alternative Plan Program (SAPP) from states seeking to deploy their own radio access networks (RAN), the facilities needed to connect first responders to the core of FirstNet’s broadband network.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (Act) requires FirstNet to offer to build the RAN in each state, but it also gives states the option to assume the cost and responsibility of RANs on their own.

“The FirstNet nationwide public-safety broadband network must be sustainable and provide seamless broadband service across the country,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “The first guidance we are releasing today respects each state’s right to choose to build its own RAN, while still ensuring that first responders have access to a nationwide broadband network that will improve their ability to respond to emergencies and save lives.”

The notice lays out NTIA’s initial views on the comprehensive, multistep process outlined in the act for a state seeking authorization to deploy a proposed alternative RAN. To operate its own RAN, a state will need to negotiate a spectrum capacity lease with FirstNet. In addition, the state may also apply to NTIA for grant funds for the construction of its RAN. The notice provides the preliminary criteria NTIA will use to evaluate such requests.

The public is invited to submit comments on the notice by Aug. 18. Comments can be submitted via email to SAPP-comments@ntia.doc.gov.

The full notice is here.

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Comments
On 7/20/16, Kristin said:
Anyone else have a problem with one private network providing ALL of first responder communications, vehicles, an all-encompassing nationwide network in one broadband network? Anyone else have a problem with public monies used to enrich private corporations? Anyone else have a problem with states being virtually extorted to join this bizarre 1984-esque network or have the choice and building their own interoperable radio access network (RAN) face an expensive, time-consuming and complex process that comes with a tight deadline What about states that are out of money — they are essentially being forced to join this rather Kafka-esque network and I say Kafka-esque because trying to navigate through all of the different corporations and grants and initiatives connected to this is really just astonishing. If one does just a cursory search on any search engine there is hardly any one thing posted on the internet outside of the firstnet.gov's own pages. This is not enough time for states to choose a viable option outside of FirstNet, and the public has NOT been sufficiently notified of exactly what FirstNet is, what it will cost and basically even what it IS. The NTIA is taking comments from the public but I challenge anyone to find one single human being outside of the public service or communications field who has even have heard of FirstNet, let alone raise opposition to it.

On 7/20/16, Kristin said:
FirstNet's opt-out program is essentially an extortion scheme. The NTIA's request for public comment is moot in itself. Ask anyone outside of the public service community or communications industry if they not only know but have even heard of FirstNet. For fun try using any search engine for listings under FirstNet. My results are zero using Yahoo and a handful using DuckDuckGo, which were mostly made up of FirstNet's own sites. The other two were of articles that showed the FirstNet network in a positive light and warned that rural areas might not benefit if they choose not to opt in. Sounds to me like FirstNet is making it extremely difficult to opt out. Sounds to me like it is choose to join this one network, all-in-one corporate public partnership, or spend millions perhaps billions and lose.


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