WASHINGTON — First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) General Manager Bill D’Agostino announced today that FirstNet has completed its analysis of 54 industry responses to its April 15, 2013, Request for Information (RFI) for wireless devices.
“Completion of the device RFI analysis signals significant technology progress for FirstNet,” said D’Agostino. “The current industry offerings for 700 MHz Band 14 public safety users are now well defined, and we have compiled a near-term roadmap for devices coming to market. This step forward could help jumpstart design and production of LTE devices for public safety.”
FirstNet is now disseminating reports on these RFI responses to the public safety community. These report summaries will be especially useful for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) recipients that enter into Spectrum Manager Lease Agreements with FirstNet. The RFI specifications are sufficiently detailed that the BTOP jurisdictions, which will have short-term needs to procure devices prior to the launch of the FirstNet data network, can use them to help define device requirements and can future-proof their device investments by staying consistent with FirstNet device strategies and directions.
The original FirstNet RFI was divided into two parts: 1) vertical offerings for public safety, such as in-vehicle routers and smartphones and 2) horizontal solutions, such as device management and application security environments. Roughly half of all respondents addressed one of these categories and about a third addressed both.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the large number of responses, which came from industry-leading companies in the consumer and enterprise products market segments, as well as from wireless device manufacturers,” said Craig Farrill, FirstNet Acting Chief Technology Officer. “The more suppliers interested in serving FirstNet users, the greater vendor diversity becomes. That could help increase competition and lower device prices for all FirstNet users.”
The RFI initially was posted on the www.fedbizopps.gov  website. It is now in the site archive at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=c5edaef78372337441ed81f88e2d40c9&tab=core&_cview=1 . The content of the reports and summaries now being distributed excludes any data that respondents marked as proprietary or confidential.
“On behalf of FirstNet, I thank all participating device vendors for their comprehensive and detailed responses,” said Farrill. “We look forward to additional support from these suppliers going forward.”
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, tribal 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 ).