FirstNet an independent authority within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is focused on deploying a wireless broadband network for public safety which will need to depend on vendors.
To meet these needs, FirstNet plans on hosting industry days and will issue Requests for Proposals. Vendors need to check with the “Doing Business with FirstNet” web site at www.firstnet.gov for notices and other updates.
To make FirstNet a nationwide network, all states must have a Radio Access Network (RAN) connecting to the FirstNet core. A state can decide whether to have FirstNet construct the RAN or the state can opt-out and seek the required approvals to build their own RAN that will need to meet stringent FirstNet requirements.
Each state has 90 days from the date the governor receives the FirstNet build-out plan to notify FirstNet, NTIA, and the FCC as to whether the state prefers to engage FirstNet to build its RAN or construct its own RAN. If a state chooses to build its own RAN, it has 180 days to complete a RFP for its RAN. If the state’s plan is approved by the FCC, the state may apply for grant funding from NTIA.
When the FirstNet network launches, it will provide mission-critical high-speed data services to add to the voice capabilities of today’s Land Mobile Radio (LMR) networks. Initially, the FirstNet network will be used to send data, video images, and text but will also carry location information and eventually support streaming video.
The current priority is to gather information on vendor capabilities for a potential Comprehensive Network Solution RFP. FirstNet is focusing on two approaches which are subject to change.
The two approaches are referred to as the “Comprehensive Network Solution Draft RFP” and the “Network Equipment & Services RFP” which can either complement or substitute for the proposed “Comprehensive Network Solution RFP.”
Recently, three Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB) were competitively awarded Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA) under FirstNet to primarily provide technical support requirements. One SCVOSB was competitively awarded a BPA for general acquisition and program management support.
The SBVOSBs include Winbourne & Costas (Arlington Virginia), Information Management Resources, Inc. (Aliso Viejo, California), Redhorse Corporation (San Diego, California), and e-9 Corporation, (Springfield, Virginia).