The FirstNet Board of Directors held their third official meeting on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at the Department of Commerce Laboratories in Boulder, Colorado. It was the first time the meeting has occurred at a location outside of D.C.; members of the public were invited to watch the webcast of the meeting in a NIST auditorium.
Major outcomes of the meeting included the passing of four resolutions:
- Resolution on FirstNet’s FY12 Report to Congress
- This legislatively mandated report details FirstNet’s “operations, activities, financial condition and accomplishments during the preceding fiscal year”
- Resolution on BTOP Projects Recommendation
- This resolution allows all seven BTOP projects to move forward because they can “provide substantial benefits to the development of the nationwide, interoperable public safety broadband network”. Board member Sue Swenson is charged with negotiating spectrum lease terms with each BTOP awardee within 90 days, after which FirstNet will request that NTIA lift the suspension of project funding.
- Resolution on Delegated Hiring Authority
- This resolution allows FirstNet’s “acting General Manager and the acting User Advocacy Officer to hire staff no more than 10 FirstNet employees on a term and/or temporary basis before the next scheduled Board meeting”.
- Resolution on Procedures for Obtaining Unanimous Written Consent
- This resolution creates a mechanism for the Board to make decisions between official meetings.
In addition, four presentations were given that focused on Stakeholder Outreach, State and Local Implementation Grant Program, Press Availability, and Next Steps.
Board Member Chief Jeff Johnson presented out on the Stakeholder Outreach project, asserting that the overall goal is to “create an informed relationship between FirstNet and its stakeholders”. In order to achieve this goal, FirstNet is planning to host six regional “Listening Tours” that will target State and local officials, which Johnson identified as the highest priority stakeholder group at this time. The listening tours are currently slated to occur in March and April of 2013. Other stakeholder groups that Johnson identified were State and Local public safety users, the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), tribes, Federal users and Agencies, Congress, the Media, and BTOP recipients, vendors, and the technical community.
Johnson also introduced the User Advocacy (UA) organization that will focus on stakeholder outreach. Chief Johnson is currently serving as the acting Chief User Advocacy Officer, and the organization will be expanding staff in the short term. As an appendix, the presentation detailed criteria for FirstNet speaking engagements and past and upcoming speaking engagements.
Associate Administrator for NTIA’s Office of Public Safety Communications Stephen Fletcher presented out on the recently released State and Local Implementation Grant Program. The program was authorized by P.L 112-96 and provides $135 million in grant funds in order to assist regional, State, tribal, and local governments “To identify, plan, and implement the most efficient and effective way to utilize and integrate the infrastructure, equipment, and other architecture associated with the nationwide public safety broadband network to satisfy the wireless communications and data service needs of that jurisdiction, including coverage, siting, and other needs”. The Federal Funding Opportunity was released on February 6, 2013 and applications are due by March 19, 2013. The award start dates are anticipated to be July 15, 2013 with a three-year period of performance. More information on the SLIGP can be found at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/2013/sligp-federal-funding-opportunity
Following the official meeting, there was a press briefing where invited members of the press were allowed to ask the Board questions. This is the first time there has been an official Press Briefing at a Board meeting. You can find the official press release and statements from Board members here.
During the press briefing, acting General Manager Craig Farrill stated that a business plan will be presented at the April 2013 Board meeting. It will be an active March for FirstNet to meet that timeline.
The next Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for April 23, 2013 to be held in Washington DC.
 First Responder Network Authority Board Resolution 18
 First Responder Network Authority Board Resolution 19 http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/firstnet_resolution_no._19_re_delegated_hiring_authority.pdf