The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has temporarily stopped construction on LTE towers near fire stations in the area, until the board can revisit its plans. The county has until the end of September to meet project goals or it could lose NTIA funding. FirstNet will be using the lessons learned from LA-RICS to inform future deployments.
The project is expected to cost some $190 million. But surrounding localities have started to push back saying the goals are too expensive and too expansive. Local residents and some fire stations have also voiced concerns about radio waves from the towers impacting their health.
Pat Mallon, executive director of the LA Regional Interoperable Communications System – LA-RICS, told the media that federal program administrators have said the September deadline was firm.
Nearby Santa Clarita pulled out of the project last week citing health concerns and a lack of local control over the towers. LA-RICS would be managing the entire system for the surrounding area. In a statement, the Santa Clarita City Council pushed for officials to use the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors upcoming trip to Washington DC to push for an extension to the September federal funding deadline.
The city council also wants more input in the process from surrounding towns, police and fire.
The LA County system is being deployed by Motorola Solutions, and will used as a study case by FirstNet in terms of gathering key data about design, planning and deployment. FirstNet has faced a rocky start since its inception with both FirstNet board members and potential contractors slow walking on deadlines and contesting various issues.