FirstNet Receives License, Names Vice Chairs of Public-Safety Committee (11/26/12)
Monday, November 26, 2012 | Comments

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) received the nationwide public-safety broadband license, appointed vice chairs to an advisory committee and set requirements for a general manager for the board.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 required the FCC to reallocate and grant to FirstNet a single license for the 700 MHz D block of spectrum and the existing public-safety broadband spectrum. This license was granted for an initial term of 10 years, subject to renewal.

“The FCC’s action is another critical milestone on our journey toward deploying a nationwide mission-critical wireless network that will enable first responders to communicate with each other, improve response times and save lives,” said Sam Ginn, chairman of the FirstNet board. “We thank the FCC for its timely efforts as we undertake this historic task, and this license is a tangible reminder of our need to be good stewards of the invaluable spectrum resources that the administration and Congress, on behalf of the American people, have devoted to this cause.”

The Public Safety Spectrum Trust (PSST) formerly held the nationwide public-safety broadband spectrum license, but it only included the original 10 megahertz of public-safety broadband spectrum, not the newly allocated D block spectrum. “Once the FCC has issued the public-safety broadband license to FirstNet, the PSST will no longer have a role in the future development of the nationwide public-safety broadband network and plans to eventually cease its operations,” said Harlin McEwen, PSST chairman.

Ginn also announced the appointment of four vice chairs of FirstNet’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). The vice chairs are Chief Bill McCammon from Alameda County, Calif., representing the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association; Paul Patrick from Salt Lake City, Utah, representing the National Association of State EMS Officials; Heather Hogsett from Washington, D.C., representing the National Governors Association; and Tom Sorley from Houston, representing the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

McEwen previously was appointed chairman of the PSAC, and McEwen and the four vice chairs together will make up the PSAC executive committee. “We welcome their advice and input as we begin our crucial dialogue with these governmental and first responder leaders on how we can best deploy and operate the nationwide public-safety broadband network,” Ginn said.

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 required the FirstNet board to establish a standing public-safety advisory committee to assist it in carrying out its duties and responsibilities. The FirstNet board at its inaugural meeting in September adopted a resolution designating a subgroup of Safecom as its public-safety advisory committee, and directed Ginn to work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish the committee and appoint the chairman and vice chairs of the committee. An announcement regarding the final structure and membership of the PSAC will be forthcoming.

The FirstNet board members are also seeking a highly qualified and motivated candidate to become the general manager of FirstNet. This position shall be responsible for implementing the policies and strategies approved by the board and overseeing all of the day-to-day operations of FirstNet, akin to a CEO or president in a corporate setting. The general manager will report to the board of directors of FirstNet.

Candidates should forward a letter and resume or CV to FirstNetGM@ntia.doc.gov by Dec. 1, 2012. A committee of the FirstNet board of directors will review the submissions and will select candidates to interview with the board and with NTIA. The prospectus is available here.

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