TR Daily FirstNet Previews Details of New Road Map
Monday, August 12, 2019

FirstNet Previews Details of New Road Map

BALTIMORE—First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) officials have previewed details of a FirstNet 2.0 road map that is set to be released soon, including priorities to increase indoor coverage, enable the use of geolocation information, facilitate the deployment of mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) capabilities, and improve the performance of priority services. The road map could be released as early as this week.

An earlier FirstNet road map focused on the issuance of a request for proposals (RFP) and an award of a contract to construct the nationwide network. That 25-year contract went to AT&T, Inc. The new road map expresses how FirstNet “will work to advance the FirstNet network over a multiyear horizon,” according to the authority.

“So we are just in the infancy of this network, and we are in the infancy of what we like to call FirstNet 2.0,” Jeremy Zollo, FirstNet’s executive director-enterprise strategy, noted yesterday at a session at the APCO 2019 show here. “So as we worked as an organization to get this contract in place, to get a partnership with AT&T together, we needed to redefine what we do as the government, FirstNet the authority. How can we be there for public safety, how can we continue to engage and consult with public safety and with industry? And what we needed to do is create a new vision for our organization.”

FirstNet is in a position to be a catalyst to effect positive changes for the public safety community, working with public safety, AT&T, other government agencies, and industry, he said, including by reinvesting the $18 billion it will receive from AT&T as part of its contract with the carrier, Mr. Zollo said.

FirstNet will work to understand why agencies are signing up for the FirstNet service and why they aren’t, he said, adding that it will strive to eliminate obstacles to non-adoption. “We’re going to refresh this roadmap on an annual basis,” Mr. Zollo said.

The road map is being built around the following six technology domains: the network core, coverage and capacity, situational awareness, voice communications, secure information exchange, and user experience.

During yesterday’s presentation, FirstNet officials discussed what will be the authority’s priorities around the domains except for the core in the initial version of the new road map. They also outlined highlights of input received from the public safety community during extensive consultations with more than 15,000 public safety professionals.

Coverage and capacity priorities are increasing outdoor and indoor coverage, particularly in public safety Band 14; advocating for codes, standards, and policies that help improve in-building coverage; and increasing the fleet of deployable equipment.

Situational awareness priorities are acting as a catalyst for creating and evolving mapping and display technologies to enable the use of geolocation information; and advocating for the development of standards, device, and technologies that collect and analyze information concerning personnel, threats and hazards to improve public safety operations.

The priorities for voice communications are assisting public safety in deploying MCPTT solutions; working in 3GPP on related standards; and advocating for use of MCPTT features that include device-to-device communications.

The priorities for secure information exchange are collaborating for standardized governance and procedures to enable the integration and exchange of information; improving the performance and use of identity, credential, and access management (ICAM) through real-world experiences; and assessing industry standards for end-to-end security.

The priorities for user experience include improving the performance of priority services through the evaluation of actual deployments, and advocating for the use of public safety applications that offer intuitive user experiences.

The new road map will be released “no later than the end of this month,” according to Mr. Zollo, adding that the presentation he did with Brian Hobson, FirstNet’s senior director-road map and ecosystem, was a “sneak peek” at the plan. However, the road map could be released this week. —Paul Kirby, [email protected]

MainStory: NTIA FederalNews WirelessDeployment PublicSafety

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