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RESTON, VA – The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board today approved key elements of its Request for Proposal(s) (RFP) to deploy the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN), including a national acquisition approach that creates opportunities for national and regional partnerships – that incorporate rural telecommunications providers – to build and operate the NPSBN.
Meeting today at FirstNet headquarters, the Board also approved the release of final legal interpretations of certain provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (the “Act”), as well as evaluation factors for the RFP. The Board’s actions keep the RFP on schedule for release later this year.
"We continue to be on time and on track with a comprehensive RFP that will meet all of our strategic objectives for public safety," said FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson. “The approach we approved today provides a nationwide solution for a public safety network. It promotes speed-to-market and partnering among rural, small business, tribal, regional, and national providers.”
The Act requires FirstNet to engage in an open, transparent, and competitive RFP process for the deployment of the NPSBN. In April, FirstNet released a Special Notice with draft RFP documents that offered opportunities for the public safety community and private sector to provide feedback, which helped inform the Board’s decision. FirstNet has also issued a series of Public Notices seeking comment on complex legal issues impacting its operations.
Today, the Board approved Resolution 69, “Final Interpretations of the Act,” which authorizes FirstNet management to release its final interpretations of 64 statutory provisions that will have an impact on the final RFP and contribute to FirstNet’s operations and network policies. This provides, for example, a final definition for the term “rural,” and confirms that any states or territories that assume the responsibility to deploy their own Radio Access Networks (RAN) must reinvest all resulting revenues into the nationwide network. FirstNet will post two Public Notices containing all 64 final interpretations to the Federal Register.
Also today, the Board approved Resolution 70, “Final Acquisition Approach,” to approve a nationwide solution for deploying the network. “This approach lets the private sector do what they do best to rapidly deploy a network while FirstNet ensures that the network meets the mission of public safety every step of the way,” said FirstNet Chief Executive Officer Mike Poth. “Further, by approving these critical structural elements of the RFP today, the Board provides more clarity and certainty for potential offerors to plan and prepare for the RFP later this year.”
FirstNet has been obligated by Congress to take all actions necessary to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of the nationwide public safety broadband network for local, state, regional, tribal, and federal first responders. FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration that is governed by a 15-member Board that consists of the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney General of the United States, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and 12 members appointed by the Secretary of Commerce composed of representatives from public safety, government, and the wireless industry (www.firstnet.gov).