The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) took another step toward deploying a nationwide public safety broadband network last week, voting to release a special notice requesting feedback on draft RFP documents.
At a special meeting on April 24, the FirstNet board of directors also approved a third public notice requesting further discussion with the emergency response community regarding the definition of “public safety entity" in FirstNet’s enabling legislation.
FirstNet Chair Sue Swenson called the board’s decision significant progress as it works to implement the network.
“We look forward to having a meaningful dialog on these two topics with the public safety community, state and local jurisdictions, territories and tribes, and potential offerors to move us along our strategic roadmap toward a final RFP and ultimately the deployment of a dedicated public safety broadband network,” Swenson said in a statement.
The RFP is a requirement of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012. It mandates FirstNet to issue an RFP to construct, operate, maintain and improve a national public safety broadband network.
The decision to release draft RFP documents ahead of time is meant to help boost the input of all interested parties before the actual RFP is issued later this year.
“Having an iterative approach that involves public safety early and often in the process will lead us to produce the best possible RFP to help ensure the ultimate network solution works for the public safety community, FirstNet, and its industry partners,” added T.J. Kennedy, acting executive director of FirstNet.
The special notice with draft RFP documents are scheduled for release on April 27 on fbo.gov, with responses due in 90 days. The comment period for the third notice regarding the definition of “public safety” is open for 30 days.