The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board last week approved the Request for Proposal (RFP) to deploy the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN). The RFP will be released in early January.
“We engaged in an open and transparent process to develop this RFP from the start and met our goal of completing it by the end of the year. I commend the Board and FirstNet staff for their dedication. I also recognize the valuable contributions of our stakeholders who provided us with feedback every step of the way,” FirstNet Vice Chair Jeff Johnson said. “FirstNet is looking forward to receiving competitive offerings from industry to build the network.”
The RFP includes a national acquisition approach that creates opportunities for national and regional partnerships, which incorporate rural telecommunications providers, to build and operate the NPSBN.
The FirstNet RFP is objectives-based and incorporates public safety’s needs for a nationwide broadband network. To form the RFP, FirstNet issued multiple requests for information, public notices, and special notices for public comment. FirstNet also collected vital stakeholder feedback on the RFP documents through consultation and outreach with public safety partners nationwide.
“One of the drivers for the creation of FirstNet is the need for interoperable communications among public safety users from different agencies,” wrote Mark Golaszewski, FirstNet director of applications, in a blog. “FirstNet’s strategy for maximizing interoperability across the nationwide public safety broadband network is to leverage, to the greatest extent possible, open, standards-based solutions for: network infrastructure and services and data access and applications.”
FirstNet will rely heavily on standards set by the Third-generation Partnership Project. However, standards do not currently exist for data and applications.
“Given the diversity of unique network, data, and applications solutions that exist for over 60,000 public safety agencies, FirstNet cannot ensure that all users will be able to access or interoperate across all legacy solutions,” Golaszewski wrote. “However, by driving toward open, standards-based solutions, FirstNet envisions vastly improving the public safety user experience when it comes to new communications services, data access, and applications.”