AT&T to Pay $14.5 Million, Provide 3,300 Devices for LA-RICS LTE Network
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 | Comments

AT&T and the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications Systems (LA-RICS) are expected to finalize an agreement Dec. 14 that will transfer and assign the LA-RICS public-safety broadband network to AT&T. AT&T will pay $12 million for the assets and $2.5 million in replacement services to LA-RICS, and will provide up to 3,300 replacement routers, subscriber identity modules (SIMS) and devices.

The agreement is only valid if California opts in to the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T state plan. California has not announced an opt in or out decision yet. In addition, the agreement is contingent on LA-RICS securing approval from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for round two of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) LA-RICS project.

LA-RICS is one of five early builder public-safety LTE projects and the first that AT&T has purchased or publicly agreed to incorporate into the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN).

AT&T signed the agreement this week, and the LA-RICS Joint Powers Authority (JPA) board is expected to sign the agreement Thursday.

LA-RICS received $154.6 million in Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funding in 2010. In 2013, FirstNet signed a spectrum manager lease agreement (SMLA) with the project, making it one of five early builder projects with key learning conditions for the NPSBN.

As part of the BTOP grant, LA-RICS was required to pay a 20 percent match. The LA-RICS JPA said the transfer fulfills the goals of the BTOP grant by including sites built by the authority into the FirstNet NPSBN and providing lessons learned and reporting, as well as recouping a portion of the local funds used in deploying the LA-RICS LTE network. The $12 million will be paid in three payments, the agreement said.

The asset transfer includes 75 public safety grade broadband sites, including 13 cells on wheels (COWs) and spare equipment. The federal agencies that administered the BTOP grants must approve the transaction.

"LA-RICS leadership and technical engineers worked for weeks with AT&T leadership and engineers to put together an agreement that benefits all parties and greatly benefits the region's ability to properly serve the 11 million residents of L.A. County, especially during a major emergency or disaster," said Executive Director Scott Edson.

The agreement requires AT&T to take over operation and maintenance of the LA-RICS network no later than July 1, 2018. If that occurs, LA-RICS would not enter a year two maintenance agreement with Motorola Solutions, saving the authority $3 million.

“We’re excited to have reached an agreement with LA-RICS. Los Angeles and the LA-RICS team were at the forefront of developing the nationwide public-safety broadband network," said Chris Sambar, senior vice president, AT&T – FirstNet. "So, we’re pleased to integrate their assets into the FirstNet network we will build in California should they opt in. It’s our mission to build a world-class network for first responders, and this will help us deliver the highest quality public-safety service experience to Los Angeles, California and the nation.”

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