Local Control and the NPSBN

March 15, 2016

By Jeff Posner, Sr. Applications Architect

I have had the opportunity to hear from many members of the public safety community, both in conversations and in written materials, about the need for local control on the nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN). 

Probably the most important lesson I have learned from work in this area is that local control means different things to different constituencies.  As a result, the FirstNet CTO team has worked to synthesize a variety of sources on the subject into the recently released Request for Proposals (RFP).  This blog provides an overview of the issue and describes how we addressed local control in the RFP.

First, we cast the widest net and included as many ideas and suggestions as possible regarding local control. Then, we grouped these suggestions logically, aligned them with other sections of the RFP, and organized them into areas of “Direct Control” and “Indirect Control.” Direct Control refers to those areas we felt would best be met with a program that allows public safety to directly configure the operations of the network to their own needs.  Indirect Control refers to those areas that would best be met through collaboration between the Awardee and the public safety entities (PSEs). 

The results of these efforts are displayed above as the “Local Control Logical Framework.”

Local control is partitioned into the follow functional groupings:

Direct Control:

  • Quality of Service, Priority and Preemption (QPP) – This provides authorized users the ability to raise or lower settings of one or more users
  • Users & Groups – provides authorized users the ability to manage users and groups within their control and map these to roles and profiles
  • Roles & Profiles – provides authorized users the ability to manage roles & profiles that simplify user management
  • Devices & Provisioning – provides authorized users the ability to manage devices and the provisioning of those devices on the network
  • Applications & Services – provides authorized users the ability to whitelist and blacklist applications and assign applications to specific users or devices

Indirect Control:

  • Planned & Unplanned Events – establishes the operating procedures for agencies to coordinate specific requests from FirstNet in support of upcoming planned events or manmade or natural unplanned events
  • Reusable Assets – refers to the operating procedures to ensure FirstNet customers and the Awardee maximize the productivity of agency owned or controlled resources
  • Onboarding & Support – establishes the details of how the Awardee will support our PSE partners to ensure a smooth start and ongoing operations for every FirstNet customer

The framework sets the stage for the next phase of our efforts when FirstNet, the Public Safety Communications Research program (PSCR), and the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) will investigate specific areas of local control and develop answers to key questions in preparation for working with the Awardee.

In fact, we recently completed a meeting with the PSAC Local Control Task Team in Boulder, CO, and the early recommendations indicate that manual, direct control of QPP should rarely, if ever, be necessary.


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