FirstNet approves spectrum, adopts business plan


The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) has approved an agreement with the state of New Mexico allowing it to lease access to FirstNet’s spectrum. The organization has also adopted a business plan for FY ’14, signaling the most important progress in FirstNet’s short history.

The agreement between FirstNet and New Mexico is the first step in the process towards lifting the project’s partial suspension. New Mexico must submit a request to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to lift the suspension, and FirstNet will then submit a letter in support of that action. NTIA will make a recommendation to the grants office on whether to lift the funding suspension.

If New Mexico’s project funding is lifted, the key issues FirstNet intends to learn from the project include: use of a network core located remotely; spectrum management and network use issues along the U.S.-Mexico border; and shared use of a state network with a large number of Federal users.

The board also to extend negotiations with the Executive Office of the State of Mississippi and Motorola Solutions, Inc. (the Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications Systems Authority (BayRICS) )to Sept. 30, 2013. CivSource first reported on the problems with that project last month, including allegations that Motorola Solutions was working to derail FirstNet. These projects have made substantial progress in reaching agreements with FirstNet, and FirstNet remains hopeful that agreements can be finalized with those projects by the deadline.

Additionally, the board adopted a $194 million budget in support of management’s plans and priorities to continue developing the nationwide network.