WASHINGTON, DC – The First Responder Network Authority’s (FirstNet) board today approved a spectrum manager lease agreement with the state of Texas, allowing the state to continue work on a local public safety broadband network in Harris County. FirstNet will lease Texas spectrum usage rights to operate on the 700 MHz public safety broadband spectrum, the single, nationwide license which was granted to FirstNet by the Federal Communications Commission. The agreement also allows for ongoing use of equipment purchased through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds under the Port Security Grant Program.
“We are pleased to have an agreement in place that both preserves federal investments and allows for the continuation of work towards a nationwide public safety broadband network,” said TJ Kennedy, Acting General Manager of FirstNet. “This agreement gives the state of Texas the support needed to capitalize on their existing grant and continue critical efforts designed to assist public safety.”
In August 2012, the State submitted a request to operate a public safety broadband network in Harris County, Texas, a short-term, early deployment project aimed at informing FirstNet in the design of a nationwide plan. The State has been conducting that work under an FCC approved special temporary authority that was set to expire by the end of August. FirstNet and the State have been actively negotiating an agreement that would afford a stronger commitment, an increased level of support and an understanding that the work would not impede the task of establishing a nationwide interoperable network.
FirstNet will provide emergency responders with the first high-speed, nationwide network dedicated to public safety. The network will improve communications among local, state, regional, tribal and national emergency services personnel. FirstNet is an independent entity within the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration. FirstNet is governed by a 15-member Board appointed by the Secretary of Commerce that consists of representatives from public safety, government, and the wireless industry (www.firstnet.gov).