New Filings Push for FCC to Intervene in FirstNet Interoperability Debate
Friday, March 06, 2020 | Comments

America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) submitted two reports on the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to the FCC in an ex parte filing. The filing is part of the record in the Boulder Regional Emergency Telephone Service Authority (BRETSA) petitions requesting the FCC to ensure interoperability between FirstNet and other commercial carriers and services.

“We believe that these two reports will be informative in the commission’s analysis and decision regarding opening a notice of inquiry as requested,” said the filing signed by Lonna Thompson, APTS executive vice president.

The reports included research by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Lab (LL), which conducted video testing at the FirstNet Innovation and Test Lab in Boulder, Colorado, last year. The tests demonstrated that data pre-emption and priority were dependent on a variety of factors. (link to

The second was the January Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which said AT&T is meeting or on track to meet all nationwide, contractual network coverage and adoption milestones for the nationwide public-safety broadband network, but public-safety officials expressed frustration with the lack of transparency and information from FirstNet officials.

The APTS filing is here.

The University of Houston, on behalf of Houston Public Media submitted a separate ex parte filing to support APTS comments and to illustrate how datacasting provided by Houston Public Media has been instrumental in providing key information to the city of Houston’s police and fire departments.

Representatives from APTS took FirstNet and AT&T officials to task for not being “willing to open serious discussions with APTS on a way forward to integrate public television datacasting technology into the FirstNet ecosystem” in a January filing.

“Public-safety providers greatly benefit from interoperability and would enjoy greater benefits if all networks made datacasting interoperable in their systems,” said the Houston Public Media filing.

The Houston Public Media filing is here.

Last year, several public-safety jurisdictions filed comments supporting the BRETSA petition asking the FCC to require interoperability between Long Term Evolution (LTE) commercial networks used by public-safety agencies.

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