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FirstNet Board Approves Two Spectrum Lease Agreements

Adams County, Colo., and New Jersey ink lease agreements with FirstNet, bringing the number of agreements up to four.

by / December 18, 2013

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) Board has approved separate agreements with the state of New Jersey and Adams County, Colo., to allow them to lease access to FirstNet’s spectrum. 

FirstNet has had an active first year; its first few months were spent naming board members and conducting business operations, and by spring, it conducted six regional consultation workshops, issued RFIs for broadband technology, created a regional operational model and approved a $194 million budget for 2014.

“I’m really pleased that we were able to reach agreement with these two additional public safety projects,” said FirstNet Board Chairman Sam Ginn in a press release. “These projects will provide FirstNet with a prime opportunity to gather key information and share lessons learned with FirstNet and the public safety community.”  

The next step is for New Jersey and Adams County to submit a request to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to lift their partial suspension. FirstNet will submit a letter in support of that action, according to the release, and the NTIA, which is the grant administrator, will make a recommendation to the grants office on whether to lift the funding suspension.

The Adams County project -- ADCOM 911 -- will be one of the first systems capable of providing advanced mobile data services to a major airport complex and link adjacent public safety entities to airport public safety operations. And its proximity to the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) center in Boulder, Colo., enables it to serve as a pilot demonstration project to test interoperability with FirstNet’s nationwide network, according to the press release.

In New Jersey, the original project plan was revised to focus on procuring deployable assets — 37 cell sites on wheels. The state will use these mobile cell sites to expand network coverage and help inform FirstNet’s deployable strategy.  

The first two spectrum lease agreements were made over the summer with the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System Authority (LA-RICS) and the state of New Mexico, bringing the total number of spectrum lease agreements up to four. And negotiations have been extended through Feb. 24, 2014 on a spectrum lease agreement with the State of Texas for Harris County.

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