Earlier in February, the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced that it would like to use the seven Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant winners as test sites for the National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). FirstNet now has 90 days to negotiate individual lease agreements with each project entity. The BTOP projects were put on hold last year when the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) partially suspended their funding once FirstNet was established.
- Susan Swenson and other Board of Directors members visited the seven project sites. She reported that working with the BTOP grant winners could significantly benefit FirstNet’s efforts to develop the NPSBN.
- Craig Farrill, another Board member, emphasized that letting these individual projects go live would help FirstNet develop a migration plan for future NPSBN users.
Food for Thought
- Once FirstNet reaches an agreement with the project entities, both the FirstNet Board and NTIA will still need to give their approval before the partial suspension is lifted. Network development will only resume once all of these steps are complete, so it will likely be some time before FirstNet receives any feedback about the build-out process.