By Dave Buchanan, FirstNet Director of State Consultation
More than 65 representatives from local, state, and tribal public safety and communications entities gathered at the Nevada State Capitol Building in Carson City, NV on January 7, to learn more about FirstNet and exchange ideas on the deployment of the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN) in the state. The meeting got off to a great start when Nevada Public Safety Communications Committee Co-Chair Jim Wright and state single point of contact (SPOC) Chris Smith opened the Initial Consultation Meeting by affirming Nevada’s commitment to the NPSBN.
Following the opening remarks, Claudia Wayne from the FirstNet consultation team talked about how the consultation meetings were helping FirstNet better understand each State and territory’s requirements for the network, especially coverage issues. She talked about how the goal of the initial consultation meeting and the overall consultation process is to learn as much as possible about existing communications infrastructure and challenges in each State. Working in tandem with FirstNet’s Public Notice and Request for Information processes, the consultation process provides FirstNet with a more complete picture in its effort to develop an acquisition strategy for the network, she said.
Jeremy Zollo, FirstNet State and Local Outreach Branch Chief, discussed topics such as FirstNet’s sources of funding, public safety and secondary use of the network, and responsibilities for the separate parts of the network, such as the Core, Radio Access Network (“RAN”), and devices.
Nevada representatives provided the FirstNet team with valuable “real world” examples of public safety responses to large planned events and emergencies in the state, including the Reno Air Race crash, Burning Man, and New Years Eve 2014 in Las Vegas. In each of these instances, they discussed how having access to a dedicated and reliable broadband network could have benefitted first responders. Following these real world presentations, Brian Hobson from the State Plans team briefed attendees on user and coverage considerations.
The Nevada consultation meeting was FirstNet’s tenth overall consultation with states and territories and an important next step in our efforts to plan for the deployment of the NPSBN in the state. The consultation team would like to thank Nevada SPOC Chris Smith for organizing the meeting and everyone who attended for participating in a dialogue on key issues facing FirstNet and the State as we move forward together to plan for and deploy the network.
We are looking forward to a busy 2015 on the consultation front, with several state consultation meetings scheduled for the early part of the year, including Colorado on January 14th.