WASHINGTON – The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board today adopted a resolution authorizing FirstNet Board member Sue Swenson to begin negotiations with the state of Texas to enter into a spectrum lease agreement for its public safety broadband project.
The state of Texas has used grant funds administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a project to install next-generation public safety broadband networks in Harris County. This project has been using the spectrum licensed to FirstNet under a Special Temporary Authorization granted by the Federal Communications Commission.
In the course of evaluating whether the seven Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) public safety grant projects could support the development of the nationwide, interoperable public safety network, several FirstNet Board members also visited the Harris County project to conduct a similar evaluation. As a result of its examination of the project, the FirstNet Board has preliminarily concluded that it could provide substantial benefits to the development of the nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network.
“Based on our site visits and other discussions with the project’s leaders and vendors, we’ve determined that the Texas project could provide substantial benefits to FirstNet’s nationwide deployment efforts and generate valuable lessons learned on the challenges we face,” said Sam Ginn, Chairman of the FirstNet Board. “Our task now is to negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement that will transform the potential benefits into the tangible results of meaningful, working relationship between FirstNet and the grantee.”
Under the process approved today by the FirstNet Board, Ms. Swenson will enter into a 90-day period for negotiations to seek an agreement with the state of Texas. If the negotiation concludes successfully within that 90-day window, and the Board approves the agreement, FirstNet then would execute a spectrum lease with the grantee.
“I am excited to begin our negotiations with Texas,” said Swenson, who has spearheaded FirstNet’s activities with the BTOP projects and Harris County. “We have made a lot of progress in our discussions with the BTOP projects, and we are optimistic that we can successfully conclude our negotiations in the near future.”
Separately, the FirstNet Board unveiled its logo today at its Board meeting. The FirstNet logo was created collaboratively with members of the FirstNet Board and the public safety community. The project began with the directive to create a brand identity representing the unification of the first responders served, as well as the strength, power, and breadth of the dynamic new network. The objective was to communicate it all in a modern, unique way.
The resulting logo imbues these elements with strong, high-tech colors and clean lines. It incorporates symbols that represent key emergency responders, and brings them all together next to iconic wireless network imagery.
FirstNet will provide emergency responders with the first high-speed, nationwide network dedicated to public safety. FirstNet is designed to improve communication among local, state, regional and national emergency services personnel. The broadband data network will help save lives and protect the health and safety of all Americans. It will be built using LTE, the most advanced wireless technology available today. FirstNet fulfills a fundamental need of the public safety community for a single, mission-critical communications system enabling force multiplier effectiveness. Overseen by representatives of public safety, government and the wireless industry, FirstNet is an independent entity within the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (www.firstnet.gov).